Policy Basics: Taxes in Indian Country Part 2: Tribal Governments

Tribal self-sufficiency and self-government depend upon a tribe’s ability to raise revenue and regulate its territory—and the power to tax plays an essential role in this. These revenue streams help tribes perform government functions and provide essential services to their communities. However, few people understand the nuances of how taxes work in Indian Country. As a result, taxation authority in Indian Country has been one of the most litigated issues between tribes, states, and local governments. Furthermore, there is much misinformation and many missed opportunities for innovative and mutually beneficial inter-governmental collaborations that respect tribal sovereignty.

This is the second in a two-part Policy Basics series on taxes in Indian Country. Part 1 provided a brief overview of the taxes that individual Indians in Montana pay. This report Policy Basics: Taxes in Indian Country Part 2: Tribal Governments focuses on tribal governments and the taxes they pay and assess. It begins by delving into the critical role taxes play in creating a reliable revenue stream that can support government services and operations, as well as encouraging certain behaviors and economic climates through tax incentives and exemptions. This is followed by a review of the state-tribal revenue sharing agreements made between the seven reservation governments and the Montana Departments of Revenue and Transportation. The report concludes with a set of policy recommendations to state and tribal policymakers and agency personnel for maximizing the benefits of revenue sharing for their respective governments.

Read the full report Policy Basics: Taxes in Indian Country Part 2: Tribal Governments.