American Indian Tribal Issues

Overview

In recognition of the fact that sales and purchases of tangible personal property involving American Indians and sales on Indian reservations are unique, this page is intended as a resource for information available regarding the proper application of tax for these transactions. The following regulations contain information that may be of interest:

Additional information regarding construction contracts on Indian land is also available.

If you are an Indian residing in Indian country, or you are an Indian having a construction contract performed in Indian country, you may use the following exemption certificates to provide documentation to the retailer that the sale in question is to an Indian residing in Indian country.

  • BOE-146-RES, Exemption Certificate and Statement of Delivery in Indian Country
  • BOE-146-CC, Construction Contract Exemption Certificate and Statement of Delivery in Indian Country

Regulation 1616, Federal Areas, provides a sales and use tax exemption for sales of property used in tribal self-governance. To qualify for this exemption, all of the following criteria must be met:

  1. The sale must be to a tribal government of an Indian tribe that is officially recognized by the United States,
  2. The tribal government's Indian tribe does not have a reservation, or the principal place where the tribal government meets to conduct tribal business is not on the reservation because the reservation does not have a building or lacks essential utility services necessary to meet and conduct tribal business,
  3. The property is purchased by the tribal government for use in tribal self-governance, and
  4. Title to the property transfers and the property is delivered to the tribal government at the principal place where the tribal government meets to conduct tribal business.

Publication 146, Sales to American Indians and Sales in Indian Country, provides information about this exemption that tribal leaders may share with vendors they are doing business with.

Since the tribal government may take title and possession of property outside of Indian country and still qualify as an exempt transaction under the circumstances outlined above, a retailer may verify that the address at which title to the property will transfer is valid by examining the list below. This list contains tribal governments along with the address at which they meet to conduct tribal business that are outside Indian country. Additionally, the retailer should obtain an exemption certificate from the tribal government as supporting documentation for the exempt sale. Tribal governments may use BOE-146-TSG, Exemption Certificate – Property Used in Tribal Self-Governance and Statement of Delivery, as part of the necessary documentation to retailers that the sale meets the criteria for the exemption as outlined above.

Tribal Government Meeting Locations outside Indian Country

A list of the tribal meeting locations is available at http://www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/tribal_gov_meeting_locations.htm.

Please contact us if you believe your tribal government is eligible for the exemption discussed above and your tribal government is not on the list of eligible tribal governments. To be added to the list, please provide:

  • the name of the tribe
  • the name, address and telephone number of the contact person
  • The address of the qualifying location, and
  • An explanation why your tribal government is eligible for the exemption.

The information may be provided via email or a letter to the following address:

Board of Equalization
Business Taxes Committee (MIC:50)
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0050