Best of TaxLetter: White Man's Treaty

Rodger Jourdain argued that his income as chairman of the tribal council of the Red Lake Bank of Chippewa Indians was not taxable.

He cited the General Allotment Act of 1887 which exempted income from allotted tribal land. He argued that the 1795 Treaty with the Tribes of Indians of Greenville prohibited "molestation from the United States," which taxing his income would be. He contended that Constitutional references to "Indians not taxes" in Article 1, Sec. 2, and Amendment 14, Sec. 2, similarly prohibit the taxation of Indians. Finally, he noted that the Internal Revenue Code does not apply to Indians because it contains no express statement that Indians will be taxed.

The Appeals Court was impressed, but not enough to excuse him from taxes. (No. 15)


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