Tax Developments Provide Opportunities for Economic Growth in Indian Country


CLE credits earned: 2 GENERAL (or 2 LAW & LEGAL for WA state)

Opportunities for economic growth in Indian country — including the development of renewable energy projects, retail space, hotels and resorts, data farms, and more traditional farming activities, to name a few — are tied to several recent tax-related developments. These developments include federal regulations regarding the taxation of on-reservation real property and improvements leased and/or owned by non-Indians, whether tribes can collect sales taxes for on-reservation transactions with non-Indians, how treaties can impact taxation of certain off-reservation activities, and new opportunity zones in Indian country. This CLE course will give a basic overview of federal Indian law to provide context and then dive into a discussion of these developments and potential impacts for both tribes and nontribal parties interested in investing in on-reservation economic growth and development.

Key topics to be discussed:

•   Background on Federal Indian Law and Power to Tax in Indian Country
•   2013 BIA Regulations and Subsequent Caselaw
•   Washington Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den and Potential Ramifications
•   Real World Opportunities for Investment in Indian Country

Date / Time: June 20, 2019

•   4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Eastern
•   3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Central
•   2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Mountain
•   1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Pacific

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•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.

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Original Broadcast Date: June 20, 2019

Bart Freedman, Esq., as a partner in the Seattle office of K&L Gates, has a broad Indian law practice. He has represented a tribal corporation and tribal members in successfully asserting that tribal courts should be given first opportunity to consider claims arising under federal law. He has also represented local governments and private parties on a government to government basis with Indian tribes on issues including treaty rights, fee to trust land transfers and cultural resources.

Elizabeth Crouse, Esq. is a partner in the Seattle office of K&L Gates. She provides business-focused solutions for U.S. federal, state, and international tax problems in a variety of transactions and investment structures. Elizabeth is familiar with navigating the challenges and opportunities of the Opportunity Zones incentive and U.S. federal and state renewable energy tax incentive programs.

Ben Mayer, Esq. is an associate in the Seattle office of K&L Gates. He represents clients in negotiations and transactions with Indian tribes on issues related to sovereign immunity, tribal jurisdiction, treaty rights, historic and cultural resources, and taxing. He has advised clients on these matters in relation to financial services agreements, oil and gas leases, contracts for goods and services, individual Shellfish Management Plans (SMPs), property acquisition financing, and interlocal taxing agreements.

Francesca Eick, Esq. is an associate in the Seattle office of K&L Gates. She represents public and private clients in negotiations and transactions with Indian tribes on issues related to sovereign immunity, treaty rights, and historic and cultural resources. Most recently, she has advised clients on recent legal developments related to treaty-protected fishing and hunting rights.

Tommy Miller, Esq. has a broad background in Indian law, having worked on a wide range of issues for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Office of the Reservation Attorney, the Indian Health Service Office of Tribal Self-Governance, and as outside counsel to Tribes and Tribal Corporations. In 2018, Mr. Miller founded Methow Law, a firm focused on enhancing tribal sovereignty through economic and legal infrastructure development. Mr. Miller is a proud member of the Colville Tribes and serves on the boards of the Northwest Indian Bar Association and the Native American Alumni of Harvard University.

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Section I. Background on Federal Indian Law
a) Sovereign Immunity
b) Treaty Rights
c) Tribal Taxation of non-Indians: Montana
d) State and local taxation in Indian country: Bracker

Section II. 2013 BIA Regulations
a) Description of regulations
b) Discussion of cases interpreting regulations
        i. Possessory interest tax
        ii. Water agency tax
        iii. Rental tax
        iv. Utility tax

Section III. Washington Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den
a) Yakama Treaty
b) Court of Appeals
c) SCOTUS Decision
d) Potential Impacts

Section IV. Real World Opportunities for Investment
a) General Overview of On-Reservation Investment Opportunities
        i. Tax Advantages for Value Generated on the Reservation
        ii. Tribal Assessment Systems
        iii. Permanent improvements on Tribal Land
iv. Partnerships with Tribes
b) Opportunity Zones