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Taxes on Indian Land

Photo by Dan Anderson

Citing federal law about timetables for creation of Indian reservations, the Escambia County Commission challenged whether the land where the Poarch Band of Creek Indians operates a reputedly profitable casino might be on non-reservation land. The Supreme Court ruled in Connecticut that all those rules about reservation land apply only to places that were part of the Indian land system in 1934. The Poarch Creeks didn’t have federal standing until 1984.

If it’s not a reservation, the commissioners reasoned, then those gambling profits would be taxable.

But their hopes seem to be dashed by a response from the U.S. Department of the Interior. With no reference to the date of establishment, the Interior letter said the land remains under federal control.

End of tax hopes.

But that might not change much anyway. If they weren’t federally protected, they might fall victim to state anti-gambling laws and end up just as closed as their non-Indian competitors.

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