Native Sun News: Utility firm stops taxing reservation customers

Range Telephone Cooperative hosted a customer appreciation table at a basketball game on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation earlier this year. Photo from Facebook

Range Telephone withdraws excise tax for Northern Cheyenne
By Clara Caufield
Native Sun News Correspondent

NORTHERN CHEYENNE RESERVATION –– Enrolled tribal members residing on the Northern Cheyenne reservation recently received good news from the Range Telephone Cooperative in Forsyth, Mont., which provides the only land-line telephone service available in much of southeastern Montana. Although as a result of recent tribal initiative, cell phone service from a variety of providers is now available on the reservation.

Range Telephone recently sent a mass mailing to members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe which reads: “Enrolled Tribal Members, who have telephone service in their name, are eligible for a tax exemption from Montana State Excise tax. The term includes, but is not limited to local exchange, long-distance, private communications, two-way paging, wireless tele-communication and related services, regardless of whether the service are paid for on a call-by-call basis or postpaid calling basis. Broadband is not included. In order to have the exemption, please fill out the form below and return it with a copy of your current tribal card."

Thus, those Northern Cheyenne tribal members who can prove tribal membership (tribal I.D. card) and who live within the boundaries of their own reservation, no longer will have to pay state excise taxes on Range Telephone bills, representing a savings of about .375 percent per billings cycle

Pam Spang, wife of former tribal president, Leroy Spang initiated this matter, after attending a meeting in Helena with Leroy a few years back, then learning that tribal members on reservations are legally not subject to such state taxes, as a matter of federal law.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Range Telephone withdraws excise tax for Northern Cheyenne

(Contact Clara Caufield at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

Join the Conversation