Comment Period Open on Proposed Tax Code
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
By Joe Morey
The LCO Tribal Governing Board is asking tribal members to give them feedback on the proposed Tax Ordinance for the Tribe, officially known as Title XII Commercial Practices - Chapter 7 Tax Code in the Tribal Code of Law.
Members may view the tax code in PDF form at https://www.lcotribe.com/tax-ordinance or they may pick up a hard copy at the Tribal Office front desk.
The new tax code could bring in an estimated $750,000 annually on a 5% sales tax and a 25 cent-per-pack cigarette tax alone. The TGB stated the additional revenues will be used primarily for funding of public safety programs which include the LCO Fire Department and the LCO Police Department.
LCO TGB member Tweed Shuman said, “By adding these two simple taxes at our retail outlets, we can add a substantial amount of revenue to the tribe which will bolster the tribal budget in providing more services for our members."
Other services that could be funded by taxation include more funding to the Boys and Girls Club, transportation opportunities, day care and assisted living facilities, elder services and other service organizations and vital government services.
The TGB is allowing for a two week period to make comments on the proposed tax code.
The proposed tax code establishes a tribal tax division which states the following:
(1) The Tax Division of the Finance Department is hereby established as a governmental entity of Tribe.
(2) A Tax Administrator shall be appointed by the Tribal Governing Board and may be removed and replaced at any time for cause by the Tribal Governing Board.
(3) The Tax Administrator may not have a financial interest, personal interest or conflict of interest of any type as determined by the Tribal Governing Board in any of the Tribe’s wholly owned, partially owned and joint venture commercial businesses enterprises or entities.
(4) In conducting its oversight of this ordinance, the Tax Administrator and Tax Division shall act on behalf of the Tribe. The Tax Administrator and Tax Division shall be and at all times shall remain exclusively as a section within the Finance Department and as such, controlled by the Tribal Governing Board.
(5) The Tax Administrator and Tax Division shall have the authority to interpret and carry out all activities pursuant to this ordinance to ensure compliance by those Persons subject to this ordinance.
(6) The Tax Administrator and Tax Division shall have the authority to promulgate rules, administrative guidelines and decisions, examine the records of any person liable for taxes owed to the Tribe, require reports from taxpayers as necessary to enforce the tax and such other pronouncements as the Tax Administrator deems appropriate in order to fulfill the purposes of this ordinance.
(7) The Tax Administrator shall report to the Chief Financial Officer and or Secretary/Treasurer of the Tribal Governing Board and have the authority to engage the services of other departments of the Tribal as deemed necessary in order to discharge its duties and responsibilities under ordinance.
The proposed tax code also declares an imposition of the following taxes:
(1) As of the effective date of this ordinance, the Tribal Governing Board hereby imposes the following taxes upon the sale of goods and services:
(2) a tax on cigarettes and tobacco products possessed, transported, sold or conveyed by any seller;
(3) a tax on motor fuel and diesel fuel imported, possessed, transported, sold or conveyed by any seller;
(4) a tax on the sale or rental of all lodging services provided at any commercial hotel, motel resort, private hotel, inn, hostelry, tourist home, house, motel, rooming house, apartment house, trailer, or other lodging place within Reservation Lands;
(5) a tax on all alcoholic beverages levied on the retailer including on each sealed container of spirituous liquor, on each container of vinous liquor and on each gallon of malt liquor;
(6) a construction tax on the awarded amount;
(7) a possessory interest tax shall be levied upon persons on account of their possessory interest in real property within Reservation Lands; and
(8) a tax on gross income derived from the sale of telecommunications service, gas, water, electric power or other utility services or commodities to any person who is a nonmember of the Tribe and which services or commodities are used within Reservation Lands.
The code goes on to explain Sovereign Immunity, administration of the code through a tax division and the powers of the tax administrator.
The code also describes the processes involved in collection of taxes and sales tax procedures.