Business | Law

City in Oklahoma ends effort to force tribes to collect sales tax

The FireLake Corner Store in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Photo from Citizen Potawatomi Nation

The city commission in Shawnee, Oklahoma, voted 6-1 to end sales tax collection efforts that drew outrage from area tribes.

In February, the city asked the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the Kickapoo Tribe and the Sac and Fox Nation to collect a 3 percent tax on the sale of goods to non-Indians. Tribal leaders said the request was illegal but the city kept moving forward and even hired a law firm to address the issue.

The vote on Tuesday finally puts an end to the controversy. The city ended its $100,000 contract with the Modrall Sperling firm and said it would take “no further action with regard to sales tax enforcement against retail activities, private corporations and governments," The Shawnee News-Star reported.

“We all need to come together and work together,” Absentee Shawnee Governor Edwina Butler-Wolfe told city leaders, the paper reported. “By doing all of this that you’re doing, you’re just wasting time and effort, where that effort could be put toward doing something constructive for the people of Shawnee, and for us as tribal leaders to do for our people.”

The sales tax would mainly affect businesses owned by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The tribe has filed a detachment petition to clarify that its trust lands do not fall within city limits. A hearing is scheduled for October 20, according to a legal notice

Get the Story:
‘No further action’: City resolves sales tax issue (The Shawnee News-Star 10/8)

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