As a cannabis operator, you may have already heard about 280e and have tried to figure out how to get the most deductions for your business. Though many states are close to fully legalizing cannabis, federal regulations like the 280e prevent current legal cannabis businesses from taking full advantage of small business tax deductions. The 280e is a section of the United States Tax Code enacted during the Reagan era that prohibits businesses that deal with Schedule I and II controlled substances from taking tax deductions and credits. At the time that it was enacted, Congress decided to include an exception that allows for the deductions of the cost of goods sold (COGS), even if they are federally illegal substances. it means your cannabis business can still claim deductions.
Although it is tricky to work around the restrictions of 280e, there are some straightforward tips to help you get the most deductions for your cannabis business.
Understand the concept of “Cost of Goods Sold.” The Cost of Goods Sold is the direct costs associated with producing the goods you sell. Since your cannabis business is not treated like other legal businesses, the COGS for other types of businesses that include marketing and advertising cannot be included in the cost of goods sold for cannabis and cannabis products. You may not deduct anything related to marketing and advertising, like your dispensary display equipment, marketing material, ads, and signage. What can you deduct? Only parts related to production, such as the salary of employees who actually harvest and cure cannabis, materials that go into cultivating and manufacturing the cannabis, etc..
Create comprehensive and descriptive job descriptions for your employees By having comprehensive and detailed job descriptions for each of your employees, it’s easier to determine whether or not an employee’s wages can be claimed as a deduction. Some employees’ roles that don’t involve any handling of the cannabis to create a finished product will not be deductible. On the other hand, having an in-depth look at each role could help your accountant claim some deductions for employees’ salaries you initially thought couldn’t be claimed.
Keep detailed records of your cannabis business and facility. The exact square footage of your facility and knowing how each square foot is used could help you claim more deductions. Some facilities, specifically dispensaries, have a harder time claiming deductions for their business because most of the business is used to sell finished products. This shouldn’t stop you from providing facility information to your accountant. A good cannabis accounting firm can help you justify how you use the space appropriately for a COGS deduction. You may have a small back room where you receive, repackage, store, or handle cannabis and cannabis products prior to dispensing them. If that is the case, your accountant may be able to show that you can claim a deduction for the specific room.
Save all your receipts and give them all to your accountant. Many accountants appreciate clients who take the time to put everything together to make filing taxes easier. In the case of cannabis businesses, your accountant should leave no stone unturned. Provide your accountant with every receipt for every expense. There may be expenses that your business can claim that you may have thought couldn’t be claimed before.
Familiarize yourself with the taxes associated to your industry. Know when and what to file In the cannabis industry, there are three types of cannabis taxes:
Sales and Use tax
Depending on what type of business you have, there are different tax deadlines that need to be met for each type. Being well informed and staying on top of being compliant is half the battle when it comes to getting the most deductions for your cannabis business.
If you need some assistance in understanding cannabis taxes, filing taxes or maintaining accurate records for tax filing, talk to a team member today. Get the most deductions is possible with the help of an accountant or an accounting firm that works closely with the cannabis industry. The sooner your cannabis business becomes compliant, the sooner it can make a profit.