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Indian Tribal Governments News

The Indian Tribal Governments News is a periodic newsletter with information for Indian Tribal Governments from the office of Indian Tribal Governments (Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division) at the IRS.

Subscribe to future editions.


October 25, 2018

Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018
The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018 authorizes the Social Security Administration (SSA) to enter into voluntary agreements with Indian tribes to provide individual tribal council members with Social Security benefits.

As SSA releases more details on how to enter into a voluntary agreement, IRS will provide you with additional information.

Publication 5287, Employment Tax Video Guides for Indian Tribal Governments (CD-ROM)
Order the Publication 5287 CD-ROM, with 12 employment tax video guides for Indian tribal employers, by calling 800-829-3676. You can also view these guides online at Indian Tribal Governments Resources.

Indian Tribal Governments Gaming Compliance Tools
Check out these interactive web tools to help the tribal gaming community comply with federal reporting rules.


July 19, 2018

Issue Snapshots

Issue Snapshots are IRS employee job aids that provide analysis and resources along with audit tips or issue indicators for technical tax issues. The most recent Issue Snapshots for Indian tribal governments are:

IRC Section 7873 – Treaty Fishing Rights-Related Income
Certain income from a tribal fishing rights-related activity that’s earned by a qualified Indian entity, or by a tribal member directly or through a qualified Indian entity, is exempt from federal, state and local taxes.

IRC Section 414(d) – Governmental Plans for Tribes
This snapshot discusses the types of retirement plans an Indian tribal government may offer and when those plans may be treated as governmental plans.

Revenue Ruling 59-354 – Tribal Council Members’ Wages
Amounts paid to Indian tribal council members for their tribal council service is includible in gross income; however, they are not considered wages subject to withholding for Social Security, Medicare and federal income tax reporting.

FUTA Exemption for Indian Tribal Governments
Indian tribal governments are exempt from tax under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), provided the tribes are fully compliant with the applicable State Unemployment Insurance. This exemption applies to any subdivision, subsidiary or business enterprise wholly owned by the tribe.


May 24, 2018

Indian Tribal Governments Gaming Compliance Tools

The IRS office of Indian Tribal Governments has three new interactive web tools to help the Indian tribal gaming community comply with federal reporting rules.

  • Title 31, Bank Secrecy Act - This module provides information and links to additional resources to help tribal casinos determine their Title 31 recordkeeping and reporting obligations.
  • Tip Income Reporting - This module provides information and links to additional resources to help tribal employers and employees properly record and report tip income.
  • Information Return Reporting - This module provides information and links to additional resources to help tribal casinos meet their recordkeeping and reporting obligations.

These tools and other information for Indian tribes and tribal casinos are available at Indian Tribal Government Resources and IRS.gov/tribes.

Form 1042-S Webinars

Watch the latest recorded webinars for Indian tribal governments. Find these presentations and more on the IRS Video Portal.

Issue Snapshots

Issue Snapshots are IRS employee job aids that provide analysis and resources along with audit tips or issue indicators for technical tax issues. The most recent Issue Snapshot for tribal governments is:

IRC Section 7871 – Treatment of Indian Tribes as States - Indian Tribes are treated as states for certain purposes in the Internal Revenue Code. Indian tribes and their wholly owned entities are not subject to income tax, except for businesses incorporated under state law.


March 26, 2018

Join the IRS for a National Paycheck Checkup Thunderclap

We invite you or your group to join @IRSnews in support of the IRS Thunderclap effort promoting a national “Paycheck Checkup” on March 29. Following major tax law changes, workers should review their withholding to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable credit. Workers may get money back even if they have no tax withheld. Each year, millions of eligible workers don’t claim the EITC because they are newly qualified or don’t otherwise need to file a tax return.

Workers who work for someone else or own or run their own business or farm and earned $53,930 or less in 2017 should use the EITC Assistant to see if they qualify for the credit. You must file a return and specifically claim the EITC even if you aren’t required to file.

It’s not too late to file prior year returns to claim EITC if you were eligible, but time is running out:

  • For 2014, file or amend your tax return by April 17, 2018;
  • For 2015, file or amend your tax return by April 18, 2019;
  • For 2016, file or amend your tax return by April 18, 2020.

Refunds Worth $1.1 Billion Waiting to be Claimed

Unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling $1.1 billion may be waiting for one million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal income tax return. Time is running out. To collect these refunds, taxpayers must file their 2014 tax return by April 17, 2018.

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

The IRS reminds you that every year, people fall prey to tax scams. Three of the scams on the list of 2018 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams include:

  • Phone Scams - Callers claiming to be IRS officials threaten police arrest, deportation or license revocation if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill.
  • Phishing - Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. Criminals may pose as a person in your organization you trust or recognize, requesting sensitive information.
  • Identity Theft - Criminals sometimes file fraudulent returns using information from a phishing scam, with a refund being deposited into the taxpayer’s bank account. They then use a phone scam to claim to be the IRS and ask for that money back.

February 27, 2018

Publication 5287, Employment Tax Video Guides for Indian Tribal Governments (CD-ROM)

The IRS office of Indian Tribal Governments has released a new CD-ROM with 12 employment tax video guides to help Indian tribal employers properly withhold, deposit and report federal taxes for their employees. Learn more about what to do when you hire and pay employees, including how to:

  • distinguish between employees and contractors,
  • withhold taxes and make payments to the U.S. Treasury, and
  • meet all your reporting requirements.

Order the Pub 5287 CD-ROM by calling 800-829-3676. You can also view these guides online at Indian Tribal Governments Resources. Please share this information with tribes that may not be receiving our ITG news.

Tuition and Other Educational Benefits Provided by Tribes, Form 1098-T

Tuition and other educational benefits provided by Indian tribes to tribal members pursuant to the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 (the Act) are not taxable and not subject to information reporting requirements if such benefits meet the requirements of the Act. Tribal students that receive these educational benefits paid by the tribe should not include them on their federal tax return even if they’re shown on a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from the educational institution. Read this article for a complete discussion.


January 18, 2018

EITC Awareness Day Thunderclap

The IRS office of Indian Tribal Governments invites you to join us in raising awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit by signing up for our EITC Awareness Day Thunderclap before January 26 (by noon). Our Native American communities are especially at risk for overlooking this important tax credit.

Thunderclap is a crowd speaking social media platform that allows people to support a tweet, Facebook or Tumblr message all at the same time. Think of it as a massive flash mob on social media. It’s completely safe and will automatically post one message on your own social media account. Here’s how to sign up for the

EITC Awareness Day Thunderclap:

1. Follow this link: http://bit.ly/2D2FlXR
2. Click on “Support with” … Facebook, Facebook Page, Twitter or Tumblr
3. Authorize Thunderclap to post this one-time message to your social media platform by clicking on the “Add My Support” tab. You’ll need to input your social media username and password.

A message will be set to go out on EITC Awareness Day, Friday, January 26, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. EST. It will blast out automatically to each organization and person who backed the cause, which in turn reaches every one of their friends, followers and beyond…all at the same time. Thunderclap will amplify the message throughout all social media. Please consider participating.

We will flood Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr with this message:

“On #EITCAwarenessDay, help #IRS put money in the pockets of working Americans who are eligible. http://thndr.me/7qYUfl

The link in the message takes you to the IRS EITC resources webpage. It couldn’t be any easier to get the word out about this important tax credit. The more people who sign up, the louder our Thunderclap will be.

IRS will also issue several EITC news releases aimed at working grandparents, Tribal and rural communities, and military families. These news releases will be available at www.irs.gov/newsroom as part of EITC Awareness. Thank you for your consideration and continued partnership.


November 22, 2017

Senior Treasury officials and the Internal Revenue Service will host an in-person listening session on Monday, December 4, from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. EST, to discuss general federal tax issues related to current tax reform efforts. The issues may include: 

  • economic development incentives in Indian country
  • permanent extension of Indian employment tax credit and acceleration depreciation on Indian lands
  • tax constraints on tribal lands and tribal businesses
  • financing tools and the need for tribal parity

Registration is required by Tuesday, November 28th. Please email your contact information to TRIBAL.CONSULT@treasury.gov. You will receive a phone call to collect your personal information for clearance into the Treasury building. This event will not be accessible by phone.