We’ve offered guides for cannabis retailers and cannabis distributors, and here we cover tax responsibilities for cannabis cultivators and manufacturers. If you’ve been following our guides, many of these responsibilities will be familiar.
Cannabis cultivators are anyone who grow, harvest, plant, dry, cure, grade, or trim the cannabis plant. If you are a nursery or cannabis plant processor, you are considered a cultivator. If you are someone who produces or prepares cannabis products, labels or re-labels cannabis containers, or who packages/repackages cannabis products, you are a manufacturer. Cultivators have to register for a seller’s permit with the CDTFA online at cdtfa.ca.gov.
As a cultivator, when you make sales to other cannabis businesses, you will be required to get resale certificates, file sales and use tax returns, and report and pay use tax on taxable items purchased without tax and used by the cultivator. In addition, cannabis cultivators pay the cultivation tax to the distributor or manufacturer. In cases where unprocessed cannabis is first sold or transferred to a manufacturer, the manufacturer must collect the cultivation tax from the cultivator and pass it to the distributor for collection by the CDFTA.
As a manufacturer, your responsibilities are similar to cultivators. You must also register for a seller’s permit, obtain resale certificates, file sales and use tax returns, and report and pay use tax on taxable items on taxable items purchased without tax and used by the manufacturer. Likewise, you are responsible for collecting cultivation tax from the cultivators and supplying a receipt if the unprocessed cannabis is transferred or sold to you first. Then, you will pay the cultivation tax to the distributor, who transfers the payment to the CDTFA. Be sure you keep proper records and have the right permits and licenses – in addition to a seller’s permit, both cultivators and manufacturers may need local or municipal-level licenses. We can help you sort out your licensing needs.
This tax applies to all harvested cannabis that has entered the commercial market: that is, cannabis that has completed testing and complies with the quality assurance review as required by law.
How much is cultivation tax? It depends on the type of cannabis products being sold.
*Fresh cannabis plant fee only applies when the cannabis plant is weighed in an unprocessed state within 2 hours of harvesting. If you have immediate questions, please get in touch with our experts.
Once again, distributors collect the cultivation tax from cultivators and manufacturers. Tax is due when the cannabis enters the commercial market. The distributor will provide an invoice or receipt when they collect the cultivation tax, and you should keep this for your records.
Sales and Use Tax
File your sales and use tax returns separate from your cannabis and income tax returns. Sales and use tax returns should be filed on the CDTFA website based on the due dates, which may vary. There are also some prepayments you will be asked to make which can be found on the same site. Keep copies of your returns in case there’s ever a question on your record-keeping.
Sales tax applies to the retail sales of tangible personal property, including some labor or service costs if they are related to the sale of tangible property. Sales tax does not apply to valid sales for resale, though, so as a cultivator or manufacturer, virtually all your sales should be for resale (meaning your sales tax responsibilities are negligible). When you make a resale, use Form CDTFA-230 as your resale certificate. Don’t use a resale certificate for any personal property – you may be penalized!
Use tax is a tax on all items that you use and consume and purchased without paying tax. In the real world, this might include getting a massage – it was a service you used that likely didn’t include tax when you originally paid the masseuse. Use tax is the same rate as sales tax and will generally apply to purchased from outside California that you didn’t pay state tax on at the time of purchase.
These tax responsibilities can seem overwhelming, but that’s where our experts come in to help. If you have any questions pertaining to cultivation, sales, or use tax, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to help you stay compliant!