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Medical Marijuana and Taxes

By CannabisNews

An obscure tax law, intended to prevent cocaine kingpins from deducting yachts and other necessities, may alter Boulder’s landscape. Experts say it may shutter dispensaries nationwide.

Fourteen years before any medical marijuana laws existed, US Tax Code was amended because a convicted coke dealer had successfully deducted guns, boats, and bribes. Ever since, Section 280E has banned deductions related to “trafficking in controlled substances.”

Because marijuana is a “controlled substance,” dispensaries are taxed on all revenue — without subtracting rent, payroll, or supplies. The IRS has embarked on an auditing spree, slapping some dispensaries with tax bills in the millions. (The representative who sponsored 280E in 1982, observing its current invocation, now leads the effort to reform his own law.)

Aware of the threat, Colorado dispensaries have tread carefully. Some calculated the square footage used for selling meds, versus the area used for discussing and observing said meds ­— and wrote off rent for the latter. Some claimed that their employees multi-tasked, and deducted a portion of payroll for non-trafficking pursuits.

These number-crunching taxpayers were abiding Tax Court’s 2007 decision (C.H.A.M.P. v. Commissioner): Caregiving services were separate from trafficking, the court had ruled, and could be deducted. Dispensaries pay a higher tax rate than other businesses — but they’ve been able to keep the doors open.

Until now. In August, the Tax Court unanimously reached its second decision on 280E: It precludes dispensaries “from deducting any expense related to the business in that the business is a single business that consists of trafficking in a controlled substance.”

No more multi-tasking staff or separate “wellness spaces.” Your stores’ rent, employees, marketing, supplies — what might seem like normal business expenses — are all part of your trafficking. Growing controlled substances (still just as federally illegal as trafficking them) was somehow omitted by the lawmakers who wrote 280E …read more

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CannabisNews-MedicalMarijuanaMarijuanaNewsHempCannabis/~3/-kJhWoDmi-c/

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