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FAQs for Indian Tribal Governments regarding Status of Tribes (Taxable vs. Nontaxable vs. Not Subject to Tax)

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 are the different ways that tribal entities can be structured, and what are the tax implications of each?
  2. When a tribal governments crosses international boundaries, does this fact affect the treatment of a tribe in federal tax matters?
  3. What are the steps that a tribe can take in order to obtain federal recognition?
  4. What are the tax implications of being a federally recognized tribe?
  5. What constitutes a federally recognized tribe?
  6. Are federally recognized tribes subject to income taxes?
  7. Are federally recognized tribes subject to excise taxes on such items as fuel, wagering, and luxury taxes?
  8. Are members of federally recognized tribes subject to federal taxes as individuals?
  9. What are some of the exceptions to members of federally recognized tribes being subject to taxes as individuals?
  10. Is income from the operation of a motel or smoke shop on allotted land taxable?
  11. When exempt income is reinvested, is the reinvestment income subject to taxation?
  12. Is income from trust lands allotted under other allotment acts exempt from federal taxation?
  13. Is income of an Indian from trust land leased from the tribe taxable? 


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