November 07, 2013

Crapo Co-Sponsors Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act

Tribes in Idaho should not have their social programs taxed by the federal government

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee is co-sponsoring the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act recently introduced by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota). 

"Indian tribes across the nation contribute a rich cultural heritage to society, and the Kootenai, the Coeur d'Alene, the Nez Perce, the Shoshone-Bannock and the Shoshone-Paiute peoples in Idaho are benefiting our communities," said Crapo. "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has consistently exempted Indian country from federal taxation of tribal social benefit programs that serve to promote the general welfare of the tribe.  These programs might include education scholarships, funds to attend and participate in cultural events, housing assistance and bereavement stipends, among other things.  However, in recent years, the IRS has increasingly attempted to tax these tribal services unfairly.  This legislation would codify the tribal exclusion in the Internal Revenue Code to protect tribal members from such taxation.  I am proud to co-sponsor this bill as it honors the federal Indian trust responsibility, promotes tribal self-determination and carries no additional cost." 

S. 1507, theTribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, would specifically do the following: clarify that payments, programs or services provided by tribal governments for the general welfare of their people are excluded from federal income tax; clarify that benefits that are items of cultural significance, reimbursement of costs, or cash honoria provided by tribal governments for cultural purposes or participation in cultural events shall not represent compensation for services and shall be excluded from federal income tax; establish a Tribal Advisory Committee within the U.S. Department of Treasury for implementation of this amendment; and suspend all audits pertaining to tribal government-provided benefits and services until this amendment is enacted and implemented.