Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
WASHINGTON Mirroring HR 3043 "Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2013" that will broaden the general welfare exclusion as it applies to Indian tribes through an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code, Senate Bill 1507 was introduced yesterday in the US Senate.
Senate Bill 1507 was introduced yesterday in the US Senate by Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, and Senator Jerry Moran, R-Kansas.
Passage of the legislation may face little resistance from either party because HR 3043 received a revenue score of zero dollars ($0), which means that according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill will have a negligible impact on the federal budget.
The pending legislation is the result of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has sought to impose federal income taxes on a wide range of tribal government programs and services that individual Indians receive, such as education scholarships, funds to attend and participate in cultural events, housing assistance, bereavement stipends, and many others. Tribes and tribal organizations nationwide have called upon Congress to codify and broaden the General Welfare Exclusion (GWE) as it applies to Indian tribes through an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code.
The bills would also go far in reforming the IRS and its work in Indian country. They require the Treasury Secretary to establish a Tribal Advisory Committee that will be charged with developing a mandatory education and training program for IRS field agents to learn about federal Indian law and the unique federal treaty and trust obligations. Importantly, IRS examinations will be suspended until the IRS is adequately trained.
The bills also include a number of provisions that provide deference to local tribal government decision making authority and generally foster the policy supporting Indian Self-Determination and respect for tribal culture.
These bills closely model nearly a dozen tribal government and tribal organization resolutions adopted within the past year. They would strengthen tribal sovereignty and tribal leadership decision-making authority.
posted September 20, 2013 6:30 am edt