Miccosukee Tribe loses decision in casino per capita tax case

The Miccosukee Tribe of Florida can't assert sovereign immunity over records related to gaming per capita payments, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating the tribe to determine whether its members paid taxes on their per caps. The agency issued summons to banks and financial institutions, which the court said aren't covered by tribal sovereign immunity.

"The summonses issued by the [IRS] commissioner to third-party financial institutions are not suits against the tribe," the decision stated. Additionally, tribal immunity doesn't bar a lawsuit by the United States, the court determined.

The 11th Circuit also said the IRS commissioner issued the summons for a proper purpose and rejected the tribe's claim that the investigation is too broad. The court again noted that the summons weren't issued to the tribe itself.

"The commissioner issued the summonses to third-party financial institutions, not the tribe. These financial institutions have not challenged the summonses as overbroad, and the tribe may not stand in their shoes to do so," the decision stated.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Miccosukee Tribe v. US.

Get the Story:
Miccosukees lose round in legal war against IRS over unpaid taxes (The Miami Herald 10/16)

11th Circuit Decision:
Miccosukee Tribe v. US (October 15, 2012)

Related Stories:
Miccosukee Tribe challenges IRS request for gaming documents (8/1)