What Expenses Can Be Considered as COGS?

The IRS has made specific provisions for marijuana resellers versus producers.

For Resellers 

CCA 201504011 clarified that, for resellers, the costs that they incur that are otherwise nondeductible under § 280E may not be deducted as COGS. These costs that are non-deductible are those that are directly related to the trafficking of marijuana.

For resellers, this means that only the invoice price of purchased cannabis, less any trade or other discounts, as well as, the transportation and other costs necessary to gain possession of the inventory can be considered as COGS.

For Producers 

For cannabis-production businesses, there are significantly more opportunities to claim items as COGS. Production-related wages, rents, and repair can be considered as COGS upon the sale of the inventory for accrual-basis taxpayers and immediately for cash-basis taxpayers that are cannabis-production businesses. However, marketing and general business expenses remain nondeductible.

Indirect production costs that may be considered as COGS include:

● Repair expenses,
● Maintenance,
● Utilities,
● Rent,
● Indirect labor and production supervisory wages, including basic compensation, overtime pay, vacation and holiday pay, sick leave pay (other than payments pursuant to a wage continuation plan under section 105(d)), shift differential, payroll taxes and contributions to a supplemental   unemployment benefit plan,
● Indirect materials and supplies,
● Tools and equipment not capitalized, and
● Costs of quality control and inspection,

only if these costs are incident to and necessary for the production of cannabis. If these expenses are not related to cannabis production then they are nondeductible.

The IRS has also permitted producers to claim some additional COGS deductions, as long as the company makes sure to produce financial statements that are in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

These expenses include:

● Taxes deductible under § 164, other than state, local, and foreign income taxes;
● Depreciation and depletion;
● Deductible employee benefits, including pension and certain profit sharing contributions,           workers’ compensation expenses, stock bonus plans, premiums on life and health insurance, and miscellaneous employee benefits such as safety, medical treatment, cafeteria, recreational facilities, and membership dues;
● Costs pertaining to strikes, rework labor, scrap, and spoilage;
● Administrative expenses related to production;
● Officers’ salaries related to production; and
● Insurance costs related to production.

While the provisions of the tax code do give some cannabis-related businesses the opportunity for some tax breaks, the IRS does not allow such businesses to take the same deductions as businesses in other industries. However, the repeal of § 280E of the IRC could make the burden lesser for cannabis-related businesses who have reported tax liabilities of up to 70% of their income.


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