Helping “deserters” is patriotic?

My old friend and former Joint Committee on Taxation Foreign Team colleague Patrick Driessen, no longer on staff, emails:

“I just congratulated a former JCT attorney for assisting on an inversion.  I told him that, notwithstanding what Secretary Lew just said, anybody helping to complete an inversion IS being a real patriot, on the theory that If we only have 10 more inversions this year, then we get something like the Levin bill which is at best a 7874 bandaid.  But if we get 25 more inversions this year, people will start looking at formulary and tell the lawyers to find a new sacred cow — other than transfer pricing, and with 50 more inversions this year, we get what I really want, which is to abolish the corporate tax, raise the individual income tax rates at the top, put in a VAT with a demogrant, and tighten the estate and gift tax (including policing the many phony self-glorifying foundations out there).  Continue reading Helping “deserters” is patriotic?

Oregon marijuana revenue: $38 million in year 1

Oregon marijuana tax revenue would amount to $38.5 million in year 1, says ECONorthwest.  The work was paid for by proponents, but I don’t detect bias.

The estimate assumes

— no movement from medical to recreational (because of low taxes, high medical fees).

— 60 percent market share for black/gray market after legalization. If law enforcement steps up, that number should go down over time.

— Big impact of 280E on growers (but that’s unrealistic, since nearly all growers’ expenses are deductible cost of goods sold; 280E hurts retailers much, much more – it hits anyone who does marketing or has a showroom).

— Steady prices during the first two years of legalization (after a minor initial drop). I would think prices would start dropping pronto.  But they might spike at first, as they have in CO and WA, though Oregon aims at creating more lead time to get supply ready.


Beyond the Swiss Army Knife for medical marijuana

Tax has been called the “Swiss Army Knife of public policy.”  In the two states where recreational marijuana is legal, medical marijuana patients don’t pay tax on what they buy.  That’s one way of providing relief to sick people.  Berkeley, California, is considering another way.  The New York Times reports:  “marijuana dispensaries will have to set aside 2 percent of their product — which must be of equivalent quality to the marijuana they’re selling at market prices — and give it free to city residents with incomes below $32,000.” Continue reading Beyond the Swiss Army Knife for medical marijuana

Confusion over Colorado marijuana taxes

I can’t understand the figures for sales of recreational marijuana in Colorado in April, the fourth month below:  How could 10 percent of marijuana sales be greater than 2.9 percent of all sales?  I’ve asked the Department of Revenue for help in understanding what is going on.  All figures come from links on Continue reading Confusion over Colorado marijuana taxes

Free Marijuana — Tax Free in Colorado?

A quick look at Craigslist for Denver,, searching for free marijuana, shows (along with free delivery and other non-tax-motivated offers) several deals where the purchaser who buys some non-marijuana item gets a certain amount marijuana free.  Does that avoid the 10 percent retail tax on marijuana?  I wouldn’t be surprised to see taxpayers take the position that no tax is owed.


Sales of non-marijuana items in Colorado recreational stores quadruple

In January, recreational marijuana stores in Colorado sold just north of $350,000 worth of stuff that did not bear the 10-percent marijuana tax.  The math is explained here.   By May, that figure had more than quadrupled, to over $1.4 million. Continue reading Sales of non-marijuana items in Colorado recreational stores quadruple

Bundling to beat Colorado marijuana tax?

It looks to me like sales of non-marijuana items in recreational stores have risen from 2.5 percent in January to 6.5 percent in May.

Hmm.  Does that mean stores are “bundling” normally taxable marijuana with free-of-10%-tax vaporizers or something?  For instance, buy an untaxed vaporizer, get your marijuana free as part of the vaporizer price?  I have no idea, but there is an incentive to do that — if taxpayers think that works.  As an old friend from the Joint Committee staff used to put it, the job of the tax lawyer is to turn This into That.

Folks in Colorado know a lot more than I do.

Details here.