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FAQs for Indian Tribal Governments regarding IRC Section 7871 (Tribes Treated Like States for Federal Tax Purposes)

These frequently asked questions and answers are provided for general information only and should not be cited as any type of legal authority. They are designed to provide the user with information required to respond to general inquiries. Due to the uniqueness and complexities of Indian law and Federal tax law, it is imperative to ensure a full understanding of the specific question presented, and to perform the requisite research to ensure a correct response is provided.



  1. What is Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 7871?
  2. What is the purpose of IRC section 7871?
  3. How does IRC section 7871 economically benefit tribal governments?
  4. To which tribal governments does IRC section 7871 apply?
  5. Where can the most recent list of federally recognized Tribal governments be found?
  6. Does IRC section 7871 also apply to political subdivisions of tribes?
  7. Where can the most recent list of recognized political subdivisions of Tribal governments be found?
  8. Is there additional information about the definition of an Indian tribal government in the IRC or the Treasury Regulations?
  9. How can a governing body be added to the list?
  10. What are some examples of a political subdivision?
  11. What is an essential governmental function? 


For questions regarding tax return account matters, tax deposits or filing requirements, please contact our Customer Account Services staff toll-free at
1-877-829-5500.

For questions on any tribal tax matter, please e-mail us.  Be sure to include your name, your phone number and your email address so that we can respond to your question.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 18-Nov-2013