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House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma). Photo from Sen. Jim Inhofe / Twitter

The House will take up H.R.3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, later this week.

Generally, all income and benefits are subject to federal income tax. But the bill ensures that tribal members won't have to pay taxes on certain payments received through tribal general welfare programs.

"I am a proud cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation, which is important policy for our Native Americans in Oklahoma and across the country," Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Cherokee Nation, said on Facebook on Monday. "H.R. 3043 promotes tribal self-determination and reliance, at no additional cost to U.S. taxpayers."

The Internal Revenue Service has been criticized in recent years for going after tribal benefits. In response to complaints, the Obama administration finalized new guidance, Application of the General Welfare Exclusion to Indian Tribal Government Programs That Provide Benefits to Tribal Members, in June but the bill establishes a more permanent policy on the matter.

The bill also provides temporary relief to tribes and their members who are being audited by requiring the Department of Treasury to develop new training for agents who work in Indian Country. A Tribal Advisory Committee will be set up to help oversee the training and to advise the Treasury Secretary on taxation issues.

H.R.3043 is on the House majority leader's schedule for this week and will be considered under a suspension of the rules.

Related Stories:
Bryan Brewer: Approve HR3043 to stop IRS harassment of tribes (9/15)
Opinion: IRS issues guidance on tribal general welfare exclusion (06/30)
Law Article: IRS broadens general welfare exclusion for tribes (06/09)
Law Article: IRS issues guidance on general welfare exclusion (6/6)
IRS finalizes guidance on general welfare exclusion for tribes (6/3)
Tribes support measure to address general welfare exclusion (09/25)
IRS issues new guidance on general welfare exclusion for tribes (12/6)

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