Continuing our series from last week, today we’re covering the key tax policy that cannabis distributors in California are responsible for now that proposition 64 has been approved. If you’re a retailer looking for detailed tax information, check out this for California cannabis retailers.
Distributors are also responsible for collecting and submitting a variety of taxes, including cannabis cultivation, sales, excise, and use taxes. Distributors are also responsible for filing the cannabis taxes after collecting cultivation and excise tax from the retailers and cultivators, and for keeping resale certificates on file from retailers. Here’s how to file your taxes, how much to collect from your cannabis partners, and how to handle sales tax.
Please consider that we are not a law firm, and this advice should not substitute any proper legal advice.
Are you a cannabis distributor?
You are cannabis distributor if you procure, sell and/or transport cannabis between licensed cannabis businesses such as cultivators, manufacturers or retailers. Distributors must meet also meet the following requirements:
If you are also making sales, and not just transporting product, you are responsible for registering with the CDTFA to get a separate seller’s permit. This will also require filing Sales and Use Tax Returns.
Are you a microbusiness? This complicates things a little. Microbusinesses may operate as a distributor, but in that case they are only required to hold one license that authorizes the microbusiness as a distributor. A microbusiness may operate as a cultivator, distributor, manufacturer and/or retailer. Microbusinesses are responsible for all of the same requirements as distributor requirements listed above.
Distributor Cannabis Tax Requirements
As a refresher, The cultivation tax is imposed imposed on all of the harvested cannabis that enters the commercial market. Cultivators are responsible for paying the cultivation tax to the distributor. In some cases, the cultivator is responsible for paying the tax to the manufacturer if the cannabis is transferred or sold to a manufacturer first. Either way, as a distributor, you are responsible for remitting the cultivation tax to the CDTFA. Cultivation tax rates are:
To qualify for the third point, the cannabis plant must be weighed in an unprocessed state within 2 hours of harvesting. If you have immediate questions, please get in touch with our experts.
When you collect the cultivation tax, you will need to provide a receipt to the cultivators and manufacturers that lists the amount of the tax collected and relieves your cannabis partners from liability.
CANNABIS EXCISE TAX
Excise tax is a bit complicated: put most simply, excise tax is an added 15% of the average market price to the listed retail price of the cannabis product. It’s also contingent on the type of transaction between the customer and retailer. Read more about the cannabis excise tax under our post for retailers.
FILING YOUR CANNABIS TAX RETURN
The process for filing your cannabis tax return is slightly different from filing your income tax return and sales and use tax return. File your return on the CDTFA.gov site according to the quarterly schedule (so, your first return is due April 30). On this return, you are responsible for reporting the both the excise and cultivation taxes due for any cannabis and cannabis products that entered the commercial market during the reporting period. For example, on your April 30 return, you will report excise and cultivation taxes for January 1 – March 30, 2018. When reporting the excise tax, you must include reports for any product that has been transferred to a retailer (whether or not the product has already been sold).
Keep copies of your returns for future reference, and speak to one of our experts if you have any help.
Distributor Excise Tax Requirements
CANNABIS EXCISE TAX
As a distributor, you are responsible for paying the cannabis excise tax to the CDTFA and collecting it from your retailers you supply.
Sales tax does not apply to valid sales for resale. Unless you’re operating as a cannabis microbusiness, your sales as a cannabis distributor are likely to be all resale – meaning you won’t be responsible for paying sales tax. Enter: resale certificates.
Resale certificates allow you to buy resale inventory without paying sales tax reimbursement to the seller. You must provide a timely resale certificate to your supplier, with your seller’s permit information at the time you are making your purchases. Use Form CDTFA-230 as your resale certificate. Don’t use a resale certificate for any personal property – you may be penalized. Also, when you sell products to retailers, those retailers will give you a resale certificate that you should keep for your records. If you have any questions about using the resale certificate, get in touch! We’re happy to help.
Retailer Sales Tax Requirements
CANNABIS SALES TAX
Retailers will collect the sales tax from their customers and remit it to the CDTFA. The sales tax rate is based on where your sale takes place. To find the correct tax rate, check the database on the CDTFA site.