Judge won't force Puyallup Tribe to comply with IRS levy request

The Puyallup Tribe of Washington has prevailed in a taxation dispute with the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS issued a levy to the tribe in hopes of garnishing future per capita payments to a tribal member. Judge Benjamin H. Settle, however, said the levy doesn't apply to the payments, which are not "fixed and determinable" and are issued solely at the tribe's discretion.

"A levy may reach a delinquent taxpayer’s current balance, but may not reach subsequent deposits to that bank account," Settle wrote in the April 9 decision. "Similarly, a levy may attach to a tribal member’s currently authorized per capita payment, but may not reach subsequently authorized per capita payments."

Settle acknowledged he was ruling on a matter of "first impression," meaning it hasn't been settled in the courts. An appeal by the federal government is likely due to the new issues presented in the case and the potential to impact future tribal per capita disputes.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, US v. Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

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