Category Archives: Oregon

Time is Running Out for Marijuana Dispensaries

Oregon Department of Revenue LogoStory by the Oregon Department of Revenue

The clock is ticking for medical marijuana dispensaries selling recreational products. By rule, recreational marijuana tax payments are due monthly, starting in February.

“Before making their first payment, dispensaries must register with us so we can create a tax account for them,” said Marijuana Tax Program Manager John Galvin. “It’s the law.”

Right now, 120 of the 309 dispensaries selling recreational marijuana, according to the Oregon Health Authority’s public list, still haven’t registered with Revenue. Also, only five of those 309 dispensaries have scheduled an appointment to remit the taxes they collected from customers in January.

Here’s what dispensaries need to know to stay compliant:
* They must register with Revenue before they can make a payment.
* Payments are due monthly. For cash payments, they must call (503) 945-8050 for an appointment at least 48 hours in advance.
* Returns are due quarterly.
* They must issue a receipt to every customer, showing the retail price and tax paid.

Dispensaries can set the price for their products, but the price must be determined prior to calculating the 25-percent tax. The temporary 25-percent tax is applied to the retail price of all recreational marijuana products sold by dispensaries throughDecember 31, 2016.

For forms, registration, and frequently asked questions about the marijuana tax program, visit www.oregon.gov/dor/marijuana.

Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments; or call 1-800-356-4222toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish); 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon; or email,questions.dor@oregon.gov. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), call 1-800-886-7204.

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Marijuana Tax Starts January 4th

marijuanaMedical marijuana dispensaries will start collecting a 25 percent tax on the retail price of recreational marijuana products on January 4, 2016. Dispensaries started selling nontaxable limited recreational marijuana products–seeds, leaves, flowers, and non-flowering plants–to those 21 or older on October 1, 2015 under Senate Bill 460. House Bill 2041 authorized the tax that begins in January, and the rate is in effect for dispensary sales until December 31, 2016.

Toward the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, marijuana taxation shifted from the grower level to the point of sale. The administration of the tax also moved from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to the Department of Revenue. Since then, Revenue has been working closely with its partner agencies to make sure the plans for administering the tax match with the expectations of voters, the Legislature, and the general public, said John Galvin, the Marijuana Tax Program manager at Revenue.

“Even though the marijuana tax program is new to Oregon, administering tax programs is what we do every day,” said Jim Bucholz, director of the Department of Revenue. “We’re applying decades of tax-administration lessons learned and best practices to the development and implementation of Oregon’s marijuana tax program. We’re confident that the end result will be an effective and efficient tax collection program.”

OLCC plans to start issuing licenses to retail facilities in late 2016. At licensed retailers, consumers will be able to buy more types of recreational marijuana products, including immature plants, edibles, concentrates, extracts, and topical products. Retail sales at licensed facilities will be taxed at 17 percent. Cities and counties can adopt an additional local tax of up to 3 percent on retail sales. The state Department of Revenue is not involved in the collection of local marijuana taxes. Continue reading

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Filed under Lincoln County, Oregon, State Government

Beach Safety Alert

STORM In The SurfA winter storm promising strong winds and extremely high waves along the north and central coast has prompted the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to issue a safety alert for coast visitors. A high wind warning remains in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday, with gusts on beaches and headlands potentially reaching up to 70 mph, the National Weather Service reports. The service predicts extremely dangerous waves that could break on shore at 30 to 40 feet–higher than a two-story building–which could toss logs and debris on shore, erode beaches and cause higher than normal tides.

“The sandy beach is the last place you want to be during these storms,” said OPRD Safety Specialist Robert Smith. “When you visit the beach, respect the ocean and be aware of your surroundings.” Smith asks storm watchers to respect closures, stay off the sand, and watch the storm from an elevated location well above the action. A flood watch is also in effect on the central coast through Thursday, with 4-7 inches predicted in the Coast Range, the NWS reports. Flooding prompted coastal park managers to close Beverly Beach State Park and Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area, and wind prompted closure of Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint.

Visitors to state parks should check ahead of time at oregonstateparks.org for updates and closures. Beach safety tips, videos and information on the dangers of sneaker waves, rolling logs and rip currents is available at http://www.oregonbeachsafety.org.

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Filed under Lincoln County, Oregon, Parks and Recreation

Oregon Department of Revenue Increases Correspondence

STATE SEALThousands of Oregon taxpayers will see new letters and notices from the Department of Revenue in the coming weeks. The deployment of new tax administration software for the personal income tax and other tax programs on December 1 is facilitating the increased outreach.
“More frequent communication, and clearer communication, is going to really help Oregon taxpayers to understand and meet their tax obligations,” said Jim Bucholz, Revenue Director. “We know that some taxpayers may be concerned to see a little more mail from us, but this is another way we’re working to provide the best possible service to our customers.”

Revenue reports it will be sending out more than 100,000 collection-related notices, more than 7,000 property tax deferral program letters, and thousands of other pieces of correspondence. For example, in the next few months, every taxpayer with an account balance for the majority of tax programs will receive a statement of account showing the amount they owe. “The statement of account helps ensure taxpayers are aware of their debts and have current information about their tax accounts,” Bucholz said. “If they’re already working with us to resolve their debt, they don’t need to take any additional action after receiving this letter.”

Additionally, the agency has worked to clarify the language in many of its letters: “We want to be clear about what we need from a taxpayer and what they can expect from us,” Bucholz said. Revenue is halfway through its Core Systems Replacement project, a four-year, multi-million dollar IT upgrade. The first two phases were successfully completed on-time and within budget. The most recent phase of the software implementation covers the personal income tax, transit self-employment taxes, estate and fiduciary taxes, emergency communications tax, and property tax deferral programs. Among the improvements: making copies of taxpayer letters available through a secure web portal and expanding online service options like setting up payment plans, filing certain returns, and submitting documents electronically.

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Weyerheauser And Plum Creek Timber Merge

By Crystal Pecanha

Weyerhaeuser logoTwo leaders in the timber, land and forest product industry, Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek, have made a proposal to shareholders to merge and create an estimated $23 billion company with the Weyerhaeuser name. According to a press release from Weyerhaeuser, together, they possess more than 13 million acres of very profitable timberland. Rick R. Holley is the chief executive officer for Plum Creek and future non-executive chairman of Weyerhaeuser’s board, which will be expanded to 13 directors. Holley states that, “With an extraordinary set of combined assets and the proven value creation records of both Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek, the combined company will offer a compelling opportunity for shareholders.”

Plum creekHolley also said that he looks forward to building this new company with Doyle R. Simons, President and CEO of Weyerhaeuser. The two organizations claim to have unparalleled expertise in timber, land and manufacturing and that the integration of these two industry leaders will be a winning combination with the largest private ownership of timberland in the U.S., recognized commitment to sustainable resource management, and a unique ability to capitalize on the housing recovery, among other strengths. Simons says they’ve also drawn from the best talent in each company to select the right leaders to take best practices from both companies and achieve their targets, serve their customers, and drive shareholder value over the long term. Shareholders from both companies must approve the merger, which is expected to close in early 2016.

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Filed under Lincoln County, Oregon

Pacific Power Offers More Help For HEAT Oregon

Pacific Power logoHelping your neighbors and their families stay warm just got easier. Pacific Power will match every dollar you donate to HEAT Oregon with $2 more. “Despite recent economic recovery, 147,300 low income Oregon households pay more than half their income for rent, 25 percent more than before the recession. This leaves little for other basic needs, such as energy costs. These folks often need a hand to get through what are still lean times,” said Ruth Scott, executive director of HEAT Oregon. . “Pacific Power’s support of HEAT Oregon has been invaluable since HEAT Oregon began its work; bringing resources, volunteers and a love of the mission to the partnership.”

Last year, Pacific Power’s donations helped 1,571 households in need throughout Oregon including 1,730 children, 673 seniors and 530 people with disabilities. This year, Pacific Power’s 2-for-1 match will continue up to $144,000. Pacific Power customers who receive their bills by mail will find it includes a HEAT Oregon contribution envelope. Customers who pay their bills electronically can send a check or enroll in the fixed donation program online. This program allows customers to donate any dollar amount, starting at $1 per month, which is then incorporated into their monthly bill. Fixed donations will also be matched 2-for-1 by Pacific Power. To enroll in the fixed donation program call Pacific Power toll-free at 1-888-221-7070. Continue reading

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Filed under Lincoln City, Lincoln County, Oregon

ODA: Crab Advisory Issued For Domoic Acid

Story by the Oregon Department of Agriculture

Oregon-Department-of-Agriculture1The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce an advisory for all recreationally caught crab taken between Cape Arago, south of Coos Bay, and the California border. All crabs recreationally harvested should be Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlifeeviscerated prior to eating due to high levels of domoic acid in the viscera, also referred to as “butter” or guts. This includes crab harvested in the bays and estuaries, and in the open ocean, off docks, piers and jetties. Crab meat is not typically affected by this level of toxin.
Crab harvested recreationally from Cape Arago north to the Columbia River do not fall under this advisory, although it is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to eating them. Evisceration includes removal and discard of the internal organs and gills.

Harvesting of mussels remains closed from the mouth of the Yachats River in Lincoln County to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes mussels on all beaches, rocks, jetties and bay entrances in this section of the coast.

Meanwhile, all razor clamming remains closed along the entire Oregon coast because of elevated levels of domoic acid.

Coastal scallops are not affected by these closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally caught scallops is not recommended.

Recreational mussel harvesting is open from the Columbia River south to the mouth of the Yachats River.

Recreational harvesting of bay clams remains open along the entire coast.

Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers.

Domoic acid or Amnesic Shellfish toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment. ODA will continue to test for toxins in the coming weeks. Removal of the advisory requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx

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