IRC Sec. 263A UNICAP Rules Apply To CA Cannabis
IRC Sec. 263A UNICAP Rules Apply To CA Cannabis. The rules require more indirect costs to be allocated to inventory than the full absorption rules under IRC §471. The UNICAP rules require a producer of inventory to include in the cost of its inventory the direct costs of such property and such property’s proper share of those indirect costs, part or all of which is allocable to such property. Under UNICAP, direct costs include direct material costs and direct labor costs. UNICAP is required for most manufacturers and resellers with the exception of businesses with less than $10 million in gross receipts on a three-year rolling average basis.
Most cannabis businesses that do not produce products will not be required to comply with UNICAP. A reseller which is not subject to the UNICAP rules is usually required to include only direct costs in the cost of its inventory.28 A marijuana business would be well advised to comply with the UNICAP rules, whether or not it is required to do so. First, this would allow it to maximize the costs allocated to cost of goods sold. Potentially, it could minimize the number of disallowed business expenses.
Nothing in the code or regulations states taxpayers cannot voluntarily follow the UNICAP rules. For growers of marijuana, not all expenses will be allowed as the cost of goods sold, but many wills. Examples include rent, electricity, water, nutrients, security, insurance, scales, grinders, packaging materials, delivery vans, labor, excise taxes, accounting software, and traceability software.
Generally speaking, a state-licensed marijuana retailer is ‘trafficking’ in the sale of marijuana in violation of the federal CSA and will NOT be allowed a deduction for ordinary and necessary business expenses. The solely written guidance from the IRS comes in the form of a Chief Counsel’s Advice (CCA). This CCA addresses two questions:
- First, how is a cost of goods sold determined for a taxpayer subject to IRC §280E? Taxpayers should calculate Cost of goods sold “using the applicable inventory-costing regulations under §471 as they existed when §280E was enacted.30 Therefore, Reg. §1.471-3(b) for resellers, and Regs. §1.471-3(c) and 1.471-11 for producers are applicable for computing COGS.
- Second, may the IRS require the taxpayer to use an inventory method for the controlled substance? “Yes, unless the taxpayer is properly using a non-inventory method to account for the…controlled substance pursuant to the Code, Regulations, or other published guidance.” It is interesting to note that the author is aware of no other circumstances where an interpretation of a law is restricted to other laws in effect at that time of passage.