Do’s and Don’ts of Cannabis Cost of Goods Sold and IRC 471-11 Accounting and Tax

Legally Reducing Tax Liability in the Face of 280E

Due to the fact that Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug (in spite of the fact that the majority of states in this country have voted to legalize Cannabis in some form or fashion), ALL Cannabis companies must comply with 280E. There’s little grey area here, but if you’re in the business of harvesting, producing, manufacturing, or selling Cannabis in any way, shape, or form, your business is not able to legally take deductions.

IRC 280E clearly states:

No deduction or credit shall be allowed for any amount paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business if such trade or business (or the activities which comprise such trade or business) consists of trafficking in controlled substances (within the meaning of schedule I and II of the Controlled Substances Act) which is prohibited by Federal law or the law of any State in which such trade or business is conducted. Source: Cornell Law

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4 Things Cannabis and CBD/Hemp Accountants Need to Know About 471 (That Will Save Your Clients Money and Frustration)

280e 471-11 irc 471 Jan 05, 2021

Cannabis companies are springing up across the country, and for good reason. There is a huge opportunity for growth in this market and businesses are just scratching the surface. However, it’s your job to be the expert on the numbers and the complicated rules to stay ahead of the game and keep your clients moving forward.

Despite the many opportunities in the industry, Cannabis companies face certain challenges due to its federally illegal status, especially in regards to tax liabilities. CBD/hemp companies can deduct normal business expenses, but must proceed with extreme caution as they are still highly regulated and often audited. Both niches require complex accounting and tax processes to stay compliant.

According to 280E, any business associated with the “trafficking” of Schedule 1 substances may not deduct ordinary business expenses (i.e. rent, vehicle expenses, mortgage interest, and much more). The only way Cannabis companies can lower taxable income is by...

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