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Treasury and IRS Request Comment on General Welfare Exclusion for Tribal Benefit Programs

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have issued a notice, Application of General Welfare Exclusion to Benefits Provided under Indian Tribal Government Programs, inviting comments concerning the application of the general welfare exclusion to Indian tribal government programs that provide benefits to tribal members.

Tribes have requested clarity on the scope of the application of the general welfare exclusion. Tribes have consistently raised this issue with Treasury and IRS in various meetings and prior general consultations. In response to these inquiries from Indian tribal governments about the application of the exclusion to tribal government programs that provide benefits to tribal members and to provide clarity and certainty to Indian tribal governments and consistency in applying the exclusion, the Treasury Department and the Service are considering issuing guidance. Today’s announcement seeks to begin the consultation process on how best to provide that clarity.

Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, Treasury and IRS are engaging in consultation with Tribes. Comments are invited describing actual or proposed Indian tribal government programs that provide benefits to members and how the exclusion applies or should apply to these programs and benefits.

“The application of the general welfare exclusion to Indian tribal government programs is a very important issue.  We have heard repeatedly from Tribal leaders that additional clarity would be very useful for Tribes and tribal members and would increase overall compliance with existing law,” said Christie Jacobs, Director of the Indian Tribal Governments Office of the IRS.

Comments may be submitted in writing on or before Feb. 13, 2012. 

Consultation Listening Meetings

To provide Tribes and Tribal leaders additional opportunities for input, and to provide Treasury and the Service the opportunity to further discuss the issues, Treasury and the Service will host a stakeholder conference call with Tribes and Tribal leaders on May 30, 2012 at 3:00pm (Eastern Daylight Time). The conversation is expected to last approximately two hours. The conference call number is 1-888-810-9155 and the access code is 750610.

Participation is open to all Tribes and Tribal leaders regardless of whether formal comments were submitted. While the official deadline for formal comments has passed, Tribes and Tribal leaders are still encouraged to submit comments which can still be considered. Comments should be submitted to Internal Revenue Service, CC:PA:LPD:PR (Notice 2011-94), Room 5203, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044, or electronically to Please include “Notice 2011-94” in the subject line of any electronic communications.

We look forward to receiving your comments over the coming months and for those that can make it, seeing you in person on Nov. 30. For additional comments or questions, please feel free to contact Treasury at


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 18-Apr-2014