Yakama Nation tobacco dispute goes before federal appeals court

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on YouTube: 14-35165 Yakama Indian Nation v. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on Tuesday in a tobacco dispute involving the Yakama Nation of Washington.

The tribe is disputing the imposition of federal taxes on King Mountain Tobacco, a tobacco manufacturing firm. Since the business is located on an allotment within the reservation, the tribe argues the tax is barred by the General Allotment Act and by the 1855 Yakama Treaty.

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments in Yakama Indian Nation v. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade August 30, 2016

A federal judge rejected both arguments and King Mountain is now on the hook for $23 million in taxes, Courthouse News Service reported. The business was started by Delbert Wheeler Sr., a tribal member who passed away on June 30.

If King Mountain fails to pay the tax, the federal government could seize the company's property, an attorney from the Department of Justice said at the hearing, Courthouse News Service reported. But the land itself can't be seized, the attorney said.

The case is Yakama Indian Nation v. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade, No. 14-35165.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe Takes Tobacco Tax Fight to 9th Cicuit (Courthouse News Service 9/1)

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