Thursday, May 13, 2021

County Allows Cannabis Growers to Apply for Tax Refunds in Wake of Court Ruling

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2021 at 4:54 PM

After a an appeals court ruled the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors overstepped when it "impermissibly broadened the scope" of the cannabis tax voters approved in 2016, the county is beginning the process of refunding potentially millions of dollars in tax payments.

In a press release issued today, the county is introducing a process for people who paid cannabis excise taxes under Measure S from 2017 through 2021 to request a refund.

"In order for an application to be considered for a refund, taxpayers need to provide documentation that they did not cultivate cannabis during the year they were assessed a tax or that they cultivated an area that was different from that of their permit," the press release states. "Taxpayers seeking a refund will need to submit an assessment appeal application, along with an additional form that is specific to the refund claim, to the Clerk of the Board's Office. A separate application must be submitted for each year that a refund is sought, within four years from the date the tax was paid."

The county will then review the applications and compare them to "available information, including but not limited to satellite imagery and state tax records," and then either pause a settlement with the applicant or more to an assessment appeal hearing.

For background on the lawsuit challenging the board's changes to Measure S, as well as the tax measure itself, read past Journal coverage here. And find the full press release from the county copied below.


Measure S Refund Application Process
CountySeal_200
In light of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Silva v. County of Humboldt, taxpayers may submit an application for a potential full or partial refund of excise tax paid under Measure S between the years of 2017 through 2021. In order for an application to be considered for a refund, taxpayers will need to provide documentation that they did not cultivate cannabis during the year they were assessed a tax, or that they cultivated an area that was different from that of their permit.

As a reminder, the 2016 Cannabis Cultivation Excise Tax passed by voters stated that “… each person engaged in legally authorized commercial marijuana cultivation within the unincorporated area of Humboldt County shall pay an annual tax of $1 per square foot of outdoor cultivation area, $2 per square foot of mixed-light cultivation area or $3 per square foot of indoor cultivation area.”

Taxpayers seeking a refund will need to submit an assessment appeal application, along with an additional form that is specific to the refund claim, to the Clerk of the Board’s Office. A separate application must be submitted for each year that a refund is sought, within 4 years from the date the tax was paid. The application and additional form are available on the Assessment Appeals Board’s website and at the Clerk of the Board’s Office.

County staff will review the application and documentation submitted by taxpayers, compare the information to available information, including but not limited to satellite imagery and state tax records, and will either pursue a stipulated settlement with the applicant or move the application directly to an assessment appeal hearing.

Please visit the Assessment Appeals Board’s website for the assessment appeal application and additional form, an FAQ sheet, and an example of how to fill out the assessment appeal application for a Measure S refund at: http://humboldtgov.org/AAB. Physical copies of the assessment appeal application and additional form are also available at the Clerk of the Board’s Office on the first floor of the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka.

Assessment Appeals Board Website
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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