The One Main Reason Legal Pot Sales Are Lacking: Greed/Price

The One Main Reason Legal Pot Sales Are Lacking: Greed/Price

(A commentary by OldPoet56)

 

I have been reading articles the past couple of days in main stream media that marijuana sales in California are in big trouble financially and the legal companies are complaining to the state about their hardships. Folks I knew that this issue would arise back when the vote was made to make it legal. I am no rocket scientist and I know that by no means was I the only one to see this coming issue. The only reason this is happening is the price of the product, the greed of the “legal” corporations and the greed of the politicians. Greed from the politicians in the form of tax revenue on the product. Greed on the side of the “legal” Corporations by pricing the product way out of the reach of the very people who voted to make it legal in the first place. Most people who want or need the product cannot afford the “legal” price. The price on ‘the street’ is already to high for most everyday working or disabled people to afford. The price of the ‘legal’ product is many times higher that the street price. In many cases the price of one ounce of legal marijuana in a store is higher than the price of an ounce of gold. If people cannot afford to buy the legal product and they are financially forced to buy it off of the street then the state gets no tax revenue from the sales. When a legal growers store wants $500-2,000 per ounce there are very few people who can afford it at all, if they are going to buy it they will buy if off of a street vendor for $150-350 per ounce. Even these street vendors prices are to high for the average person to buy any of it. If a person is working a job for $12 per hour, after taxes it would take most all of their pay check just to buy one ounce per week, and that is at street prices. A huge amount of regular working people could easily spend their whole months earnings on one ounce of “legal” weed. People cannot afford the product, this is THE reason that sales figures are way down from what was expected by the corporations and the politicians, it is not rocket science, it is an issue of cost, of GREED!

 

Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes In 2018!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SNOPES NEWS)

 

Did Amazon Pay No Federal Income Taxes in 2018?

SEC filing: “We have tax benefits … that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income.”

  • PUBLISHED 19 NOVEMBER 2019
  • UPDATED 20 NOVEMBER 2019

Claim

Amazon paid zero dollars in federal income tax in 2018.

Rating

Origin

A frequent political talking point — when issues of tax law and corporate governance are concerned — is the lack of income taxes Amazon pays to the federal government. In 2018, Snopes rated “True” the claim that the online retailer had paid no such taxes in the 2017 tax year. Readers raised the same question for the 2018 tax year, and once again our rating is “True.”

Though Amazon’s actual U.S. tax filings are not public, a broad overview of their overall tax burden can be found in their SEC 10-K filing. In 2018, the company made over $200 billion in sales, but paid no money to the U.S. government in the form of income tax (in fact, the government actually owed the company some $129 million as noted in parentheses in the chart below):

However, the company did pay taxes abroad and at the state level: “Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years,” an Amazon spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in February 2019.

As we discussed in our previous Amazon tax fact check, the methods employed to make that extremely reduced tax burden a reality are only vaguely described by the company, but the process involves taking as many tax credits as possible under the law. “We have tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions and accelerated depreciation deductions that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income,” the company wrote in their SEC filing.

Stock-based compensation refers to the fact that publicly traded corporations, like Amazon, can list the stock options they grant to employees as a business cost in their accounting, and if an option-receiving employee makes over $1 million a year in salary, the profits from the sale of those stocks can then be counted as a federal income tax deduction for the corporation.

With respect to the other tax credits or deductions? “It’s hard to know exactly what they’re doing,” Steve Wamhoff, director of federal tax policy for the non-partisan Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, told Yahoo. “Their public documents … don’t lay out their tax strategy. So it’s unclear exactly which breaks [Amazon is taking advantage of].”

Regardless, it is factually true that Amazon paid nothing in federal income tax in 2018.

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Appeals court hands Trump another loss, saying Congress can seek his tax returns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Appeals court hands Trump another loss, saying Congress can seek his tax returns

Washington (CNN)An appeals court has denied for the second time President Donald Trump’s attempt to stop an accounting firm from turning over his financial documents to the House, making it the second tax case Trump’s lawyers say they are taking to the Supreme Court.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday that a panel of eight judges out of 11 voted against allowing Trump to continue his appeal.
The decision is another loss stacked against Trump, after federal judges have repeatedly rebuked him and greenlighted the House’s effort as it also pursues his impeachment. The case, if Trump loses again with the Supreme Court, could deliver his tax returns or closely related financial documents into the hands of House Democrats.
The opinion reiterates the strong signal the court sent last month, when it upheld a lower court ruling that Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA must comply with a House subpoena of his tax documents and turn over eight years of accounting records.
Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said Wednesday that they will appeal the decision to Supreme Court, noting “well reasoned dissent” from three judges to Wednesday’s opinion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed the new ruling in a statement Thursday, saying, “once again, the courts have resoundingly reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight and consider legislation on behalf of the American people.”
In a separate case, Trump faces a Thursday deadline to ask the Supreme Court to block a Manhattan grand jury subpoena for copies of his financial records and tax returns. His attorneys have previously said they intend to ask the Supreme Court to take up the New York case.
And in yet another new filing in a third case Wednesday night, Trump’s legal team asked a judge for a two-week buffer period if the US House asks for his tax returns through New York state. Congressional Democrats countered in that court filing that they’d like to write an argument this week responding to this request and have an in-person hearing before the judge makes a decision.
Courts have previously refused to curtail Congress’ subpoena power.
The majority of the appeals court did not give reasoning why they declined to hear Trump’s appeal on Wednesday. But two judges, Greg Katsas and Neomi Rao, both Trump appointees to the federal appellate bench, wrote that they disagreed with the vote and would have heard Trump’s arguments again.
Katsas, who served in the White House Counsel’s office before taking the bench, wrote that he wanted a larger panel of judges on the court to hear the case, which he said presents “exceptionally important questions regarding the separation of powers among Congress, the Executive Branch and the Judiciary.”
He said that because the records are “personal” and not related to the office of the presidency, the “unavailability” of an assertion of executive privilege “creates an open season on the President’s personal records.”
Rao, who also served in the Trump administration and also dissented from the three-judge panel’s opinion, charged that when the court allowed the subpoena to go forward it “shifted the balance of power between Congress and the President and allowed a congressional committee to circumvent the careful process of impeachment.”
She said that even though the House has subsequently authorized an impeachment inquiry, the committee in issuing the subpoena was not relying on impeachment power.
A third judge, Karen Henderson, appointed to the circuit by President George H.W. Bush, signed onto their reasoning.
The administration has continued to stand its ground against all efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns. Trump has claimed that ongoing IRS audits have stopped him from making his tax returns public, even though audits don’t prevent individuals from releasing tax returns.
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

Trump can’t sue New York state in DC federal court to stop release of tax returns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump can’t sue New York state in DC federal court to stop release of tax returns, judge says

(CNN)A Trump-appointed federal judge decided Monday that President Donald Trump can’t sue New York state officials in a Washington, DC, court at this time to stop the release of his tax returns to Congress.

The case is one of many where the President or his administration have asked federal judges to intervene before House Democrats obtain Trump’s financial records.
Effectively, the ruling is a loss for Trump but a less significant one then the blows other courts have dealt him in cases involving Democrats’ pursuits of his financial records. Courts have sided with the House multiple times in cases where its committees have subpoenaed Trump’s financial records. Trump is still appealing those rulings, keeping the House subpoenas on hold.
If Trump wants to continue to challenge a New York state law that says Congress can request his state tax returns, he’ll either need to wait for Congress to make the request or start over with a new lawsuit in a New York court, the judge, Carl Nichols of the federal district court in DC, said Monday.
“Mr. Trump may press his claims against the New York Defendants in this Court should future events support the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them, or he may opt to pursue those claims in an appropriate forum,” Nichols wrote in his opinion, which dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against the New York state officials. The judge is still considering whether Trump can sue the House Ways and Means Committee to stop it from requesting his returns under the state law.
In this case, Trump had sued New York state and the House to preempt a new New York state law, called the TRUST Act. Congress hadn’t yet requested his state tax returns under the law.
The New York State Attorney General’s Office had argued that the case “plainly belongs in a New York court.”
Trump had argued that the DC federal court was the right place to sue because New York state would send the tax returns to Washington if Congress requested them.
But Nichols, a Trump appointee to the federal bench in Washington, sided with New York on Monday.
It’s possible Trump could file a similar lawsuit with another court, such as in New York state, or later in an attempt to prevent the request from Congress, Nichols wrote.
“The Commissioner [of tax and revenue in New York] has not taken any such actions—at least not yet. But more importantly, the acts of corresponding with the Committee and transmitting Mr. Trump’s state tax returns would not constitute transacting business” in Washington, DC, the judge wrote on Monday.
Trump also claimed he could be hurt, for the purposes of a lawsuit, in Washington. “Such acts, if taken, could be enough to satisfy” part of the DC code, the judge wrote. “But speculation that they might occur is insufficient to exercise jurisdiction over the Commissioner now.”

8 Years of Trump Tax Returns Are Subpoenaed by Manhattan D.A.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

8 Years of Trump Tax Returns Are Subpoenaed by Manhattan D.A.

Investigators demanded the president’s personal and corporate tax returns as they examine hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.

ImageA lawyer for the Trump Organization last month called the investigation politically motivated “harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons.” 
CreditCreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

State prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed President Trump’s accounting firm to demand eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

The subpoena opens a new front in a wide-ranging effort to obtain copies of the president’s tax returns, which Mr. Trump initially said he would make public during the 2016 campaign but has since refused to disclose.

The subpoena was issued by the Manhattan district attorney’s office late last month, soon after it opened a criminal investigation into the role that the president and his family business played in hush-money payments made in the run-up to the election.

Both Mr. Trump and his company reimbursed Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, for money Mr. Cohen paid to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The president has denied the affair.

It was unclear if the broad scope of the subpoena indicated that the office had expanded its investigation beyond actions taken during the 2016 campaign. A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., declined to comment.

The state prosecutors are seeking a range of tax documents from the accounting firm, Mazars USA, including Mr. Trump’s personal returns and those of his business, the Trump Organization. The subpoena seeks federal and state returns for both the president and the company dating back to 2011, the people said.

The investigation by Mr. Vance has been focused on $130,000 that Mr. Cohen paid Ms. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, just before the election. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to breaking federal campaign finance laws and received a three-year prison sentence.

While the federal prosecutors who charged Mr. Cohen stated in a court filing in July that they had “effectively concluded” their inquiry into possible crimes committed by the company or its executives, Mr. Vance’s office is exploring whether the reimbursements violated any New York state laws.

In particular, the state prosecutors are examining whether the company falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.

But it becomes a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. The tax returns and other documents sought from Mazars could shed light on whether any state laws were broken. Such subpoenas also routinely request related documents in connection with the returns.

Democrats have insisted for years that Mr. Trump release his tax returns, which every modern presidential nominee has done before him. They contend that the president may be trying to conceal details of his actual financial worth, the source of his wealth and possible conflicts of interest involving his business partners.

Congressional Democrats have taken an aggressive approach, subpoenaing six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, as well as personal and corporate financial records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and Mazars USA.

The president has fought back to keep his finances under wraps, challenging the subpoenas in federal court. He has also sued to block a New York State law, passed this year, that authorized state officials to provide his state tax returns in response to certain congressional inquiries. By tying up the requests in court, Mr. Trump’s team has made it diminishingly likely that Democrats in Washington will get the chance to review them before the election next year.

But it may be more difficult to fend off a subpoena in a criminal investigation with a sitting grand jury, as there is in Manhattan. It is possible the Trump Organization could try to negotiate with the district attorney’s office to narrow the scope of the subpoena.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, and Marc L. Mukasey, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, both declined to comment.

Asked whether the company would seek to quash the subpoena, Mazars USA said in a statement that it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations,” adding that the company was prohibited by its policy and professional rules from commenting on its work. The statement, however, did not directly address whether the company might take any legal action to block the subpoena.

Even if the Manhattan district attorney’s office is successful in obtaining the president’s tax returns, the documents would be covered by secrecy rules governing grand juries, meaning they would not become public unless they were used as evidence in a criminal case.

At the beginning of August, the state prosecutors also subpoenaed the Trump Organization, seeking documents related to the payment to Ms. Daniels and the reimbursement to Mr. Cohen. With few legal options, the Trump Organization has been complying with that subpoena.

Still, the company has derided the investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, as politically motivated.

“It’s just harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons,” Mr. Mukasey said last month.

As part of its investigation, prosecutors from Mr. Vance’s office visited Mr. Cohen in prison in Otisville, N.Y., to seek assistance with their investigation, according to people briefed on the meeting, which was first reported by CNN.

Mr. Cohen also helped arrange for American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, to pay Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also said she had an affair with the president. Prosecutors in the district attorney’s office subpoenaed American Media in early August, as well as at least one bank.

The investigation is not the first time Mr. Vance’s office has focused on members of the Trump family or its business. In 2012, his office declined to charge two of Mr. Trump’s children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., in an investigation into whether they misled buyers interested in the Trump SoHo hotel-condominium project, a decision that resulted in criticism of Mr. Vance.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

Ben Protess covers the Trump administration, including its overhaul of Obama-era regulations and potential conflicts of interest arising out of the president’s personal business dealings. He previously covered white-collar crime, Wall Street lobbying and the private equity industry. @benprotess

William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. @WRashbaum  Facebook

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China: France to implement ‘national decisions’ on digital tax despite Trump’s threat

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

France to implement ‘national decisions’ on digital tax despite Trump’s threat

Xinhua

French Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, said on Friday that the digital tax on internet giants was “a national decision” that the government would put on the ground, defying US threat of “a substantial reciprocal action.”

“France will implement its national decisions,” French newspaper Le Figaro quoted Le Maire as saying, in response to US President Donald Trump’s warning.

“The taxation of digital activities is a challenge that concerns all of us. We want to reach an agreement on this issue in the framework of the G7 and the OECD,” Le Maire said.

The French Parliament passed a new law to tax digital giants on July 11, making France one of the first countries to tax “GAFA” companies, namely Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

“If anybody taxes them, it should be their home Country, the USA. We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly. I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine,” Trump wrote in his tweet.

The French Digital Services Tax imposes a 3-percent tax on total annual revenues generated by some companies from providing certain digital services to, or aimed at, French users.

The tax applies only to companies with total annual revenues from the covered services of at least 750 million euros (US$834 million) globally and 25 million euros in France.

The tax was initially adopted by France’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, on July 4. It is expected to collect 400 million euros this year and 650 million euros by 2022.

Despite a setback in Brussels to reach a European Union-wide taxation, the French government decided to impose the tax at the national level.

In response, the United States Trade Representative announced that it has initiated an investigation against the French law and its impact on US businesses.

The USTR launched the investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, accusing the French government of “unfairly targeting the tax at certain US-based technology companies”. It has been quoting Section 301 in investigating and interfering with foreign countries’ policies.

Section 301 is part of an outdated US trade law adopted in 1974 that allows the US president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions on foreign countries.

Palestinian-Israeli Meeting Fails to Resolve Tax Funds Crisis

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Palestinian-Israeli Meeting Fails to Resolve Tax Funds Crisis

Friday, 28 June, 2019 – 11:00
A Palestinian demonstrator takes part in a protest against an Israeli decision to trim funds over prisoner stipends, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on February 19, 2019. (Reuters)
Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat
A new Palestinian-Israeli meeting has failed to end the Palestinian tax revenue crisis.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs and Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh said ongoing talks with Israel about the seizure of Palestinian deducted funds did not make any progress.

“I met with the Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and Palestinian Minister of Finance Shukri Bshara yesterday(Wednesday) and discussed means to solve the clearance issue,” he tweeted.

“We demanded that Israel release the funds,” he said.

Their meeting at the Israeli Ministry of Finance headquarters in Jerusalem was attended by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon.

Israeli sources said they only discussed economic matters, explaining that it was one of a series of meetings that brought them together in an attempt to reach a solution to the crisis.

Israel wants to reach a settlement in this matter in a way that would prevent the collapse of the PA.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahlon have earlier discussed emergency plans, should the PA’s financial system collapse over its refusal to accept tax dividends collected by Israel.

Israel has tried to transfer large sums of money to the PA, which refuses to accept them without the deducted amounts, leading to a critical financial crisis.

Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports, and then it transfers the money to the PA.

In February, it decided to deduct around $10 million a month from those revenues, corresponding to the amount it said the PA paid families of prisoners or directly to inmates serving time in Israeli jails.

Palestinians responded by saying they would refuse any funds from which unilateral deductions had been made.

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro: I Do Not Understand Economics

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Ideals For A Third Party Platform Here In The U.S.

Ideals For A Third Party Platform Here In The U.S.

 

1.) The Supreme Court decides the policy on abortion, not a politician.

2.) Guns and/or ammunition can not be outlawed from the public. To me, the only exception should be such things as machineguns. Grenades, C-4 and such weapons should be banned unless you have a specific permit to own them, like with a licensed collector.

3.) Recreational marijuana should be just as legal as alcohol, Federally! This government prohibition is just as ignorant and illegal as the prohibition of alcohol was in the 1930’s.

4.) Flat tax rate of 10% on all things, no write-offs, no exemptions, no loopholes. 6% Federal tax. 2% State tax. 1% each for County and City. I look at taxes this way, the Lord asks us to donate at least 10% toward Him which He requires us to help others with like our communities.

5.) All people running for any office must supply the prior 10 years of tax returns when they officially or unofficially announce they are ‘running’ for an Office.

6.) Mandatory retirement age for any Office of 72 years old. If a person is wanting to be elected to any office if they will turn 72 or older during that 2, 4 or 6 years then you are not allowed to be in that or any such Office. You say that is not legal that it is age discrimination, I say no, I believe you are incorrect. The reason is, you have to be a minimum of 35 to be allowed to be President. If that isn’t discrimination then neither is my idea of being to old.

Just a thought folks on what I would like to see as the Platform of a 3rd political party. so here it is.

World Bank Warns Of Severe Shock Facing Palestinian Economy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

World Bank Warns of Severe Shock Facing Palestinian Economy

Thursday, 18 April, 2019 – 09:15
Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat
The World Bank said that the Palestinian economy is now facing a severe shock in regard of public finances as a result of Israel’s approach over tax revenues, calling for an urgent resolution of the crisis before it deepens.

This came in a report that the World Bank has prepared on Wednesday and is due to be presented to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) at its next meeting in Brussels on 30 April.

The report quoted Anna Bjerde, World Bank Acting Country Director for West Bank and Gaza and Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa Region, as saying: “The economy, which in 2018 saw no real growth, is now facing a severe fiscal shock because of the standoff over clearance revenue transfers.”

Bjerde stressed that “Urgent resolution is needed to prevent further deterioration of economic activity and living standards. Clearance revenues are a major source of budgetary income and the ongoing standoff is felt by all segments of the population in what is already a weak economy.”

In February, Israel decided to deduct around $10 million a month from the revenues — the sum the PA paid families of prisoners or prisoners themselves serving time in Israeli jails — prompting the Palestinians to refuse any funds at all.

“Against a background of declining aid flows, the recent standoff stemmed from Israel’s unilateral deduction of US$138 million from the PA’s clearance revenues in 2019 to offset estimated payouts to Palestinian martyrs and prisoners’ families,” the report noted.

According to the World Bank, “the clearance revenues, collected by Israel and transferred to the PA monthly, amount to 65 per cent of the PA’s total revenues. In response, the PA rejected the diminished transfers and was forced to cut the wage bill by 30 per cent, reduce expenditures in social assistance, and borrow more from local banks. If not resolved, the standoff will increase the financing gap from US$400 million in 2018 to over US $1 billion in 2019.”

“The dual-use goods system in its current application limits economic diversification and sustainable growth in the Palestinian territories. A revamp of the application of the restrictions on dual-use goods is critically needed,” added Bjerde.

The report stressed that “The Palestinian economy has witnessed low growth rates that are not able to keep up with the growth in population, resulting in an increase in unemployment and deteriorating living conditions. The absence of growth in the past year is mainly attributed to the steep deterioration in Gaza, where more than half of the population is unemployed and economic activities contracted by 7 per cent in 2018—the deepest economic downturn Gaza has witnessed that is not a result of a conflict. However, growth in the West Bank has also slowed below its recent trends.”