ITG FAQ #1 Answer-What is meant by the term “competent Indian"?


The term "competent" denotes an Indian's ability to hold fee simple title to trust land. This status generally subjects income "directly derived" from the land to federal income tax. The term "competent" is sometimes interchanged with the term "unrestricted."

For example, from Revenue Ruling 77-78, 1977-1 C.B. 12PDF, competent Osage Indians are those who have received patents in fee to their land. In the decision in Hayes Big Eagle v. United States, 300 F2d 765 (Ct. Cl. 1962), the Court of Claims held that mineral headright income held in trust accounts for noncompetent Osage Indians was not subject to Federal income tax because certain amendments to the Osage Allotment Act contained language that implicitly exempted such mineral headright income from Federal income tax.

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