Opinion

Bryan Brewer: Congress does right thing with tribal taxation bill






Bryan Brewer. Photo from Facebook

Bryan Brewer, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, praises Congress for passing H.R.3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act:
When the IRS came out to tax our tribal government programs and services, auditing cultural events, burial payments, elder programs, back to school supplies, and housing repairs, tribal leaders said, “We have treaty rights!” But the IRS said, “We have our Tax Code,” and they didn’t listen to us. But our Nation-to-Nation relationship is directly with the United States, not the IRS.

And last week, the Senators and Representatives listened. H.R. 3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act was sponsored in the House by Congressman Devin Nunes, Ron Kind and 60 others. Senator Moran sponsored S. 1507 with Senator Heitkamp—and in the end, 25 Senators co-sponsored the Act.

Representative Nunes said, “This bill would clarify the tax code so that spending by Native American tribes on health care, housing, education, care for the elderly and disabled, and other programs for the good of the tribe will be excluded from taxes. These programs were traditionally tax-exempt, but in recent years the IRS has informally reinterpreted the rules in order to tax more and more of these programs. The agency has subjected tribes to expensive and intrusive audits. With their unique history of tribal sovereignty, Native Americans should not be subjected to arbitrary tax enforcement.”

Get the Story:
Bryan Brewer: Congress Does Right Thing! Gets IRS Away From Tribal Governments (Indian Country Today 9/26)

Debate on H.R.3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act:

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