FAQs for Indian Tribal Governments regarding Miscellaneous Issues


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.

Are lands owned by a tribal government under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act part of Indian Country?

Another concept of Indian Country is illustrated in a recent Alaska Native case. In Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government, the Supreme Court held that lands owned in fee simple of a tribal government following the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act did not constitute Indian Country under 18 U.S.C.@1151. (Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government, U.S. Supreme Court No. 96-1577)

Are tribes required to have an Employer Identification Number to gain federal recognition?

No. However, federally recognized tribes enjoy certain exemptions from excise tax, and have other benefits much like state governments under IRC section 7871 PDF. In order to utilize these benefits, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) may be required. The same applies to subdivisions of tribal governments.

Do tribal members pay real estate taxes?

From the Indian General Allotment Act - " Allotted Indian lands held in trust by the United States are an instrumentality employed by the United States for the benefit and control of this dependent race, and so are immune from state taxation." Trust status is what provides immunity from state taxes. Lands not held in trust by the Federal government for the benefit of the tribe would generally not share immunity and would, therefore, generally be subject to state property taxes.