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IRS: Marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance; Internal Revenue Code Section 280E still applies 


WASHINGTON — Until a final federal rule is published, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance and is subject to the limitations of Internal Revenue Code.  

The law with respect to the schedule or classification of marijuana has not changed. Taxpayers seeking a refund of taxes paid related to Internal Revenue Code Section 280E by filing amended returns are not entitled to a refund or payment. 

Although the law has not changed, some taxpayers are filing amended returns. The grounds for filing such claims vary, but these claims are not valid. The IRS is taking steps to address these claims. 

Section 280E disallows all deductions or credits for any amount paid or incurred in carrying on any trade or business that consists of illegally trafficking in a Schedule I or II controlled substance within the meaning of the federal Controlled Substances Act. 

This applies to businesses that sell marijuana, even if they operate in states that have legalized the sale of marijuana. Section 280E does not, however, prohibit a participant in the marijuana industry from reducing its gross receipts by its properly calculated cost of goods sold to determine its gross income.u 

On May 21, 2024, the Justice Department published a notice of proposed rulemaking with the Federal Register to initiate a formal rulemaking process to consider rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Until a final rule is published, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance and is subject to the limitations of Internal Revenue Code Section 280E. 

The IRS has an existing set of frequently asked questions and other information related to the cannabis industry on IRS.gov.



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