Research Guide to American Indian Tax Law

The Law Library Journal has published “Analytical Research Guide to Federal Indian Tax Law” by M. Christian Clark. Very nice article and well worth a read-through.

An excerpt:

Turtle Talk: The Indigenous Law and Policy Center Blog.
Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Wenona T. Singel, and Kathryn E. Fort of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law maintain Turtle Talk, a blog that updates readers on current Indian law issues. Fletcher has authored dozens of Indian law articles, including many concerning Indian tax law. The blog frequently includes the most cited sources on Indian law, which is highly useful for litigation, IRS administrative disputes, and assessing specific Indian issues. A weekly summary with analysis and case updates may be subscribed to by e-mail.

Miigwetch for the nice notice. Not sure weekly summaries are in the offering though. 🙂

Huh. KF says you can. Shows what I know.

2 thoughts on “Research Guide to American Indian Tax Law

  1. NDN Tax Dude November 15, 2013 / 1:05 pm

    Nice article, but it’d be nice to underscore the basis for a large portion of tax exemptions — the nature of the trust. For instance, the Per Capita Act exempts distributions made from trust accounts — of course the underlying principle being that trust resources carry an absolute exemption from tax. Also, the Indian canons are in direct conflict with tax canons which state: everything is income unless proven otherwise. So, there seems to be a competition for the grey area, which is complicated more when folks within the enforcement arm of the Treasury do not have an understanding of assets derived from trust resources.

  2. Christian Clark December 3, 2013 / 2:54 pm

    Thanks for the thumbs up. My initial draft discussed pertinent theoretical and policy issues in-depth, but I edited most out to align the article with LLJ’s target audience (law librarians). Hopefully the references point readers in the right direction for more expansive explanations.
    The “grey area” is not – unfortunately – typically viewed as grey by the courts, legislature and IRS when federal tax dollars are at stake. However, the courts find – and create – plenty of ambiguity in tribal-state tax conflicts. Seemingly obvious federal Indian tax policy issues can become quite convoluted, especially with so many significant tax exemptions codified under Title 25 instead of the Revenue Code. The displacement of tax powers from the Treasury to the Interior may hinder the IRS from acquiring a better understanding of the special trust relationship despite its dedicated Office of Indian Tribal Governments. Notice 2012-60 illustrates the IRS’s strict reading of Indian tax statutes. The IRS indicated that it will not treat the Per Capita Act as an “absolute exemption” on income earned on tribal judgment funds held in trust. Only income earned on trust funds held and “maintained” by the Interior are treated as exempt. Thus, the IRS has indicated its intent to tax trust fund income that is earned from a private bank account regardless of trust status. For more information, see Notice 2012-60 (Matthew Fletcher posted the Notice a while back at Holland & Knight also posted a short tax planning piece on the possibility of the IRS recharacterizing trust funds under the Notice. Wendy S Pearson posted a piece on dissent within the IRS.

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