IMAGE CREDIT: MATTHEW G. BISANZ
In a virtual UCLA panel this week, a rep from the IRS laid out how the tax agency is aiming to work with the cannabis industry.
The Internal Revenue Service is ramping up its cannabis compliance efforts.
This week, the University of California Los Angeles Extension held a virtual event called “Tax Controversy Institute,” which covered the most current tax issues and “sensitive tax practice problems” that workers in the tax field encounter. In 2020, this, of course, includes cannabis, which has fallen into seemingly unending policy and legal patchworks. While eleven states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for adult use, owners of cannabis companies can’t deduct the same business expenses as, say, a grape vineyard or a yoga studio.
Specifically, a panel on cannabis tax issues included: Ani Gaylan, founder of Galyan Law; Vladislav Rozenzhak, a chief counsel with the Internal Revenue Service; Warren Klomp, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA); and Daniel Lauer, director of Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) field examination for the IRS.
Lauer, with the IRS, talked about the midwestern states his job covers, including Michigan and Illinois, which have legalized cannabis for adult use, and Missouri, which has legal medical cannabis. And in his nearly 40 years with the IRS, Lauer said, he’s focused on excise tax policy, employment tax policy, and policy surrounding the Bank Secrecy Act, “all of which have some interconnection to the cannabis industry and compliance.”
In March, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report that provided an overview of the “growth of the marijuana industry,” and also examined the cash-based industry, with an “emphasis in legal marijuana operations.” Tucked among a handful of recommendations was the note that the IRS is not using publicly available cannabis tax return information, and therefore not identifying “nonfilers and underreported income.” In addition, another recommendation section noted that the IRS “lacks guidance” regarding the IRS tax code 280E.
Published: October 23, 2020