Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen is going after Arizona dispensaries, claiming they owe property taxes of about $1.5 million annually for the value of their businesses’ equipment.
The assessor’s office says that dispensaries are supposed to provide them with an itemized list of their equipment to be taxed each year, reports AZ Central. This tax would be another gut-punch for dispensaries, which are already paying a 50% federal income tax and 10% city/state sales tax annually.
Attorney Ryan Hurley says that more education regarding legal requirements is needed as the medical marijuana industry is still very new. Hurley said, “The folks I work with want to be good corporate citizens and want to pay what they owe.”
According to Kevin DeMenna of the Arizona Dispensaries Association, the members are disappointed with the County Assessor’s Office. They’re disappointed that the office hasn’t helped more by reaching out and informing them of these laws. Many members are already working with the Arizona Department of Revenue. DeMenna said, “(Personal property) is the most byzantine aspect of Arizona’s tax system and very difficult to comply with. We’re going to ask for dialogue.”
Following Petersen’s tour of a dispensary and cultivation facility in 2016, it prompted a harder look at personal property. He said, “I thought, ‘Man that’s a lot of personal property in there.’” He wants “to work with them [dispensaries] moving forward” and said that it’s his “pledge to help them comply with the law just like I would do with any other business.”
To help with clarification, Petersen sent a staff member to speak at a Marijuana Industry Trade Association (MITA) meeting in January and sent letters to all 109 business owners. He said, “We did the best we can with the limited resources we have. I’m not going to go beating on their door.”
Demitri Downing of MITA believes that some may push back contending that their businesses are non-profit organizations under the law. Downing said, “The real story here is: Oh my God, how the world has changed. Now we’re having an intelligent discussion about fixing these small issues instead of probation or no probation. We’re taking steps in the right direction. Paying taxes is a fantastic thing and something the industry is very proud of. For the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office to create the impression the industry isn’t paying taxes is a discredit to everything the community has achieved.”
Photo: metromeds .com