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Legal Marijuana: The Conundrum for CPAs with Clients in or Investing in the Industry (IMAJ)

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  • Field of Study
    Spec. Knowledge
  • Level
    Basic
  • Credits
    2
  • Qualifies for

    CPE

Overview

Federal law says marijuana is illegal. The laws in 29 states and the District of Columbia say otherwise, to varying degrees. CPAs whose clients have business or investment connections to this sector are caught in a quandary. Is a CPA committing a criminal act if he or she assists a business that is illegal under federal law to comply with state tax and reporting laws? Should CPAs who advise clients on investment strategies be concerned by the muddy legal status of cannabis businesses, many of which are otherwise very attractive investment targets? These complex questions are made more perplexing given that not only are state and federal law in conflict, each state’s law conflicts to some degree with the others, and all of the laws are subject to change with each election. To top it off, some professional organizations have told their members not to assist an industry which is illegal under federal law regardless of state law provisions. This webinar will review all of these issues and summarize the areas that CPAs need to consider if they have clients who are involved with this industry or considering such involvement.

Major Topics:

  • Brief History: My 18 years as a CPA in the Marijuana (now Cannabis) Industry
  • Taxation of illegal activity beginning with the 16th Amendment
  • Deductible expenses for illegal activities, including discussion of Internal Code Section 280E
  • Areas of compliance for CPAs
    • Bookkeeping
    • Financial statements
    • Income tax returns
    • Sales tax
    • Payroll tax
    • Investment advice
    • Other
  • Brief discussion of differences among states
    • For-profit model vs. Non-profit model
    • Entity choices
  • The problem with banking and its effect on doing business
  • Statements of ethics by professional organizations
    • AICPA
    • State CPA organizations
    • Bar associations
  • Malpractice insurance carriers
  • Conclusion: Opportunities, risks and key considerations for CPAs

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the considerations in supporting financial compliance for a business which “traffics a controlled substance”, which is illegal for federal purposes, but legal for (many) state purposes
  • Understand the key considerations in advising clients who have or are considering investment holdings in a business involved in the legal marijuana industry

Who should take this course:

Designed for:

Any practitioner who has current or prospective clients working directly in, investing in, or considering investment in the legal marijuana (cannabis) industry

Prerequisite:

None

Advanced Preparation:

None

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