Excises at Duke

November 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

Keeping my mind off the election, I’m giving a guest lecture at my friend Peter Barnes’s VAT and Sales Tax class at Duke Law and Sanford Public Policy Schools today.  Readings are Sean Lowry’s excise tax study for the Congressional Research Service and RAND-Vermont chapter 5.

Slides are here: barnes-sales-and-vat-2016.  The word excise can mean cut out . . .

State plans to grow marijuana

November 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

[Update, 10 December 2016:  For libertarians, government sales are anathema. For liberals, nullification of federal law by a state or locality has a history of association with racism and even slavery.]

News from The Advertiser in Louisiana:

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana State University and Southern University are set to become the state’s biggest growers of marijuana – and they are looking for private investors to underwrite the project. « Read the rest of this entry »

Politico on 280E

November 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

Politico.com’s Bernie Becker has this on Code section 280E’s tax disadvantage for marijuana:

THE CASE FOR 280E: As we’ve noted here previously, the five states that have a chance to legalize recreational marijuana next week could nudge Congress into rethinking some of their positions on pot. Among the potential debates: whether to end the current provision barring legal marijuana dealers from deducting many of their normal business costs.

The case for exempting legal marijuana dealers from section 280E of the tax code — which is aimed at drug traffickers — is pretty simple: The current setup is unfair to businesses that are otherwise following state and local law. (Side note: The semi-regular news conference about legislation to allow pot dealers those deductions, featuring the odd couple of Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, is one of Morning Tax’s favorite Capitol Hill events.)

As for the case for keeping 280E for even legal pot sellers, Pat Oglesby, a former Capitol Hill tax hand, maintains that the tax code section could be the most effective way to limit marijuana advertising, thus reducing the exposure to teenagers. “Maybe laws can’t stop marijuana marketing, but taxes can slow it down,” Oglesby wrote at Brookings last year. « Read the rest of this entry »

Trump as rebel hero

November 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

A big NYT article today explains how Donald J. Trump “pushed the edge of the envelope” to take preposterous “return positions” on his income taxes. For non-tax people, a “return position” is what you file, with the idea that it’s the most favorable outcome you could possibly hope for.

A return position can be so preposterous that it’s criminal tax fraud. That may be the case with Trump’s returns the NYT goes into. (I was heartened to see my old friend, the brilliant tax lawyer John Buckley, weighing in.)

But will this tax evasion or avoidance discourage voters from supporting him? Maybe not. If you distrust the establishment, cheating it is a badge of honor.

Many Americans today are angry to the point of destruction. Steve Earle takes the view of a frustrated rebel: « Read the rest of this entry »

Taxes in MA marijuana initiative

October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

Whole thing is worth reading. http://www.recorder.com/marijuana-tax-5603705

Here are excerpts:

For one national marijuana tax policy expert, effective marijuana taxation is all about how it’s applied to make sure a state rakes in adequate revenue from legalization to cover administration costs, deter illegal sales, and fund other parts of the state budget. It’s a delicate balance.

Pat Oglesby is the founder of the tax policy nonprofit Center for New Revenue and former chief tax counsel of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. He said Question 4’s price-based 10 percent sales and excise tax on marijuana and the state’s absence of a tax on medical marijuana present some specific challenges to effectively taxing the product under legalization. It’s lower than both Colorado’s and Washington’s tax rates. « Read the rest of this entry »

Medical marijuana tax breaks in 5 ballot measures

October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

Five states have ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana this November. Once fully effective, they all give a tax break to medical marijuana. Here are details:

State tax on recreational marijuana, if initiatives pass:
CA: 22.5% + $0.33/gram
NV: 21.85%
AZ: 20.6%
MA: 10%
ME: 10%

State tax on medical marijuana, if initiatives pass:
CA: 15% + $0.33/gram
NV: 6.85%
AZ: 5.6%
ME: 5.5%
MA: 0% « Read the rest of this entry »

Pot in bars?

October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

Ordinarily, I stick to tax policy, but I was in Denver last week, where Measure 300, is on the ballot next week. It allows consumption of marijuana in private businesses.

So does Holland, people might say, but Holland doesn’t allow pot in bars. Measure 300 does. « Read the rest of this entry »