The Miccosukee Tribe of West Miami-Dade County has been served with a summons from the IRS in the latest effort to get members to pay federal income taxes on millions of dollars of distributions from their gaming operations. The tribe has been under investigation by the IRS since 2005 stemming from their refusal to recognize the superior authority of the U.S. federal government.
The new IRS summons asks for checking, savings and credit card transactions from four major banking institutions covering the tribe’s activities between 2006 and 2009. Miccosukee lawyers asked the U.S. district judge in the case to block the summons, but the judge refused to.
Tribal lawyers are taking the position that the tribe’s sovereign immunity should prevent the U.S. from obtaining the financial records and that the tribe and its member should not have to pay income taxes. Federal law exempts the tribe’s gaming profits from tax, but its members are required to report and pay federal tax on income from all sources, including gaming distributions.
The Miccosukee are the only one of the 240 Indian tribes in the U.S. with casino operations who refuse to pay federal income taxes on monies distributed to tribe members. Each of the tribe’s 650 members is believed to collect about $200,000 per year.