Business | Politics

BSPR: Tobacco firm on Yakama Nation fights federal government

A tobacco company based on the Yakama Nation in Washington was just told to pay $58 million in federal taxes:
The U.S. Treasury Department went after King Mountain Tobacco Company for federal cigarette taxes unpaid since 2009. The cigarette factory is owned by a Yakama tribal member. The company's lawyers and the tribal government insist the reservation-based business is not subject to federal or state taxes.

King Mountain attorney Randolph Barnhouse bases this position on a specific provision of the 1855 U.S. treaty with the Yakama Nation.

"They gave up 17,000 square miles of land and they gave up a lot of other things for the right to be left alone on the reservation and to bring their goods to market without regulation," Barnhouse said. "There are only two treaties that I am aware of in the entire United States that have that 'right to travel and trade' provision in the treaty."

"People sometimes don't want to hear about the history and they say, 'Well, history; that was a long time ago,'" Barnhouse added. "Treaties are important and the promises that we made as a nation are important. They are especially important to the people who are living it every day, the Yakama people."

Get the Story:
$58 Million Judgment Adds To Woes Of Cigarette Maker On Yakama Reservation (Boise State Public Radio 9/8)

Related Stories:
Judge tells tobacco firm on Yakama Nation to pay $58M in taxes (9/5)
9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
Judge subjects Yakama Nation business to tobacco settlement (4/9)

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