The owners of a marijuana dispensary in Colorado are challenging a provision of U.S. Tax Code that the Internal Revenue Service has interpreted to mean state-legal marijuana businesses should not be allowed to take deductions or claim credits.
The couple asserts in a brief filed in U.S. Tax Court that the IRS’ determination of their taxes owed for 2010 through 2012 were unjust, and that they were unfairly taxed compared to other business owners. A marijuana attorney representing the pair characterized the specific section of the code as “absurd.”
Section 280E, deals with expenditures in connection with illegal sale of drugs. As noted in a 2015 internal memo within the IRS, although a marijuana business is illegal under federal law, it remains obligated to pay federal income tax because Section 61(a) doesn’t differentiate between income derived from legal sources and those derived from illegal sources (See the 1961 case of James v. U.S.). Continue reading