Tribal Consultations

Upcoming Consultations

On May 5, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of the Treasury hosted a Tribal Consultation on the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Technical Assistance Grant Program. Treasury is accepting written comments until June 3, 2022 11:59 p.m. Alaska Time. Submit written comments at tribal.consult@treasury.gov.

Dear Tribal Leader Letter on SSBCI TA Tribal Consultation

 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is hosting first department-wide Native Hawaiian Community Listening Session on May 24, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. HST.

Register here for the May 24, 2022, 3:00 p.m. EDT/9:00 a.m. HST listening session   
Native Hawaiian Community Listening Session Letter

 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is hosting a Tribal Consultation on Treasury’s Strategic Plan. The consultation will be held on August 1, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Register here for the August 1, 2022, 3:00 p.m. EST consultation

Dear Tribal Leader Letter on Treasury’s Strategic Plan Consultation

Summary of the Tribal Consultation relating to Treasury’s FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plan held on November 31, 2021

2022 PAST TRIBAL CONSULTATIONS

Tribal Consultation on the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Technical Assistance Grant Program, May 5, 2022.

Treasury hosted a Tribal consultation on SSBCI Technical Assistance Grant Program. This consultation focused on Tribal leader feedback on the about how TA funding can be equitably distributed among Tribal governments participating in SSBCI and how the SSBCI TA program can be effectively implemented for Tribal governments. 

Tribal Consultations on Section 605 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund,  February 8, 9, and 10, 2022.

Treasury hosted a Tribal consultation on Section 605 of ARPA, the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund. This consultation focused on Tribal leader feedback on the development of the allocation methodology, eligible uses, and further guidance of the program.
 

Treasury Listening Session on the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), January 12, 2022

Treasury hosted a listening session to learn about Tribal government’s interest in joint capital applications, goals for the program in Tribal communities, collaborations with third parties, including Native CDFIs and other Native American Financial Institutions.

Summary of Tribal Consultation and Engagement Activities Calendar Year 2021

In FY 2021, Treasury hosted over 50 Tribal engagements, including 22 Tribal Consultations, 22 Information Sessions related to the ARP programs on guidance and reporting and compliance requirements and a meeting between Deputy Secretary Adeyemo and Tribal leaders to discuss economic recovery issues. These represent over 65 hours of formal Tribal engagement. In addition, Treasury has engaged individually with Tribes in many hours of informal contact, ranging from providing individualized answers on various COVID-relief programs to assisting Tribes with completing compliance reporting and referring Tribal administrators to resources and information on Treasury programs.

A summary of the consultation topics and outcomes are presented below:

Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA1) Program

The Emergency Rental Assistance program makes funding available to assist households struggling to pay rent or utilities. Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs) were eligible to receive funds under ERA1, which provided up to $25 billion under the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The funds are provided directly to states, U.S. territories, local governments, and Indian Tribes. Grantees use the funds to assist eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs.

Treasury held Tribal consultation on January 14, 2021 to help inform guidance and compliance with ERA1 for Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities.

In addition, Treasury co-hosted with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) an information session for Tribes and TDHEs on July 27, 2021 to review eligible uses and to help Tribes and TDHEs develop effective rental assistance programs. Best practices from Tribes who have successfully launched these programs were also included.

On November 23, 2021, Treasury hosted Tribal consultation on the reallocation of Emergency Rental Assistance Funds for Tribes and TDHEs. Tribes could apply for reallocated funds by December 15, 2021. Reallocation of unused Tribal ERA funds will not occur until April, 2022 and is pending further guidance based on the November consultation.

More information on ERA1 can be found on Treasury’s website Emergency Rental Assistance Program | U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF)

The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). Tribal governments and Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) were eligible to receive $8 billion in CRF funding. The funds can be used to cover expenses that: are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19); were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 31, 2021.

Treasury hosted two consultations on the allocations of amounts reserved for Tribal governments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the CARES Act in 2021, one for Tribal governments and the other for Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). The consultations solicited feedback regarding allocations issues related to litigation in The Shawnee Tribe v. Yellen.[1]

april Additional payments were completed in August 2021.

 

On June 25, 2021, the Supreme Court held in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation[2] that ANCs are eligible for payments from the CRF. Payments to ANCs were initiated in August 2021and largely completed by October 2021. Treasury hosted an information session for ANCs on August 5, 2021 to provide an overview of the CRF and eligible uses as well as reporting and compliance requirements.

More information on the Coronavirus Relief Fund, including the updated Tribal Allocation Methodology and Disbursements to Alaska Native Corporations can be found on Treasury’s website Coronavirus Relief Fund | U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF)

The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provide eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments with a substantial infusion of resources to meet pandemic response needs and rebuild a stronger and more equitable economy as the country recovers. These funds represent a historic investment in Indian Country.

Treasury hosted five Tribal Consultation on the SLFRF to help inform several issues affecting Tribes on the Program. Consultations were scheduled so that Tribal leaders from across the country could participate and provide robust feedback on critical issues related to the Program. These include the methodology used to calculate allocations, eligible uses for the Program and reporting and compliance issues. The input and recommendations were considered when finalizing an equitable distribution of funds and in developing the interim final rule under the program. In addition, Tribal governments have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet the needs of their local communities. The guidance also recognizes the pandemic's disproportionate public health and economic impacts in Tribal communities and specifically addresses eligible uses that can help address these impacts.

So that Tribes could better understand how funding allocations were determined in the SLFRF, Treasury hosted a briefing session for Tribes on June 30, 2021. Treasury also held three additional information sessions that discussed applying for the second payment based on Tribal employment, eligible uses based on the interim final rule, and the compliance and reporting requirements and process for the SLFRF.

More information, including a summary of the consultation and an explanation of Tribal allocations can be found on Treasury’s website Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for Tribal Governments | U.S. Department of the Treasury

Capital Projects Fund

The Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (Capital Projects Fund) seeks to address many challenges laid bare by the pandemic, especially in rural America, Tribal communities, and low- and moderate-income communities, helping to ensure that all communities have access to the high-quality modern infrastructure, including broadband, needed to access critical services. The Capital Projects Fund provides $100 million to Tribal governments to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency.

On April 13, 2021, Treasury hosted Tribal consultation on the Capital Projects Fund. Based on input from consultation, it was determined that Treasury will allocate Tribal governments approximately $167,504 each under this provision. These allocations are consistent with the dollar limits set in the statute, as each Tribal government will receive not less than $50,000. In addition, Treasury developed guidance specifically for Tribal governments. Tribal governments also have the opportunity to propose capital projects for case-by-case review.

More information on the Capital Projects Fund can be found on Treasury’s website Capital Projects Fund for Tribal Governments | U.S. Department of the Treasury

Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF)

The American Rescue Plan’s Homeowner Assistance Fund provides up to $9.961 billion for states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, Tribes or Tribal entities, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to provide relief for the country’s most vulnerable homeowners. Tribes or Tribal entities will receive approximately $498 million in HAF funding.

The HAF was established to mitigate financial hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to eligible entities for the purpose of preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020, through qualified expenses related to mortgages and housing

Treasury hosted two Tribal consultations on the HAF. The April 13, 2021 consultation provided feedback and recommendations on Tribal allocations, qualified expenses of the funds, qualifications and documentation for use of the funds and input on developing a HAF Plan. Treasury held a second consultation on July 13, 2021 to solicit feedback on guidance published earlier and to help refine future guidance that applies to Tribal governments and TDHEs. To encourage maximum participation in the HAF, the deadline for Tribes to submit a Notice of Funds request was extended to November 15, 2021.

More information on the HAF can be found at Treasury’s website Homeowner Assistance Fund | U.S. Department of the Treasury.

State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Program

The American Rescue Plan provided $10 billion to fund the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). SSBCI will fund state, territory, and Tribal government small business credit support and investment programs. This is the first time that Tribal governments will be able to participate in SSBCI.

The program builds off the inaugural model developed in 2011. The new iteration will have a larger scale and includes funding to support very small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, $1.5 billion for states to support businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, $1 billion for an incentive program to boost funding tranches for states that show robust support for businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and $500 million for technical assistance.

Given the relative complexities of the SSBCI Program, the unique nature of Tribal businesses and Native American ownership and the requirement of raising private matching capital, the SSBCI Program requires intensive, ongoing engagement with Tribal nations and their business development organizations. Early on, Treasury hosted an information session on the SSBCI Program to introduce key concepts and requirements to Tribal governments and interested parties. Tribal consultation on SSBCI followed on May 27, 2021 to obtain feedback on Tribal allocation methodology, better understand the unique aspects of Tribal businesses and potential barriers to participation by Tribal governments, businesses and Native American entrepreneurs. Since this initial engagement, Treasury has delivered or hosted 15 information sessions to Tribal leaders and administrators through partnerships with BIA’s Regional meetings, Tribal regional leadership organizations and national organizations. Notably, Deputy Assistant Secretary Adair Morse provided the keynote address at the 2021 Reservation Economic Summit Annual Conference (RES2021). She discussed Treasury’s recovery programs, specifically highlighting the SSBCI Program and its potential impact for improving economic conditions and opportunity for Native Americans.

Treasury continues to engage in robust outreach and has extended its deadline for Tribes to submit their Notice of Intent to Apply several times to encourage Tribes’ maximum participation in the SSBCI Program. Future work includes crafting a technical assistance program that helps Tribes develop successful applications for funding and ensures the success of the Tribal nations and their partners in providing critical access to capital for small business and economic development throughout Indian Country.

More information on the SSBCI can be found at Treasury’s website State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) | U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Other Consultation and Engagement

In addition to robust consultation and engagement on COVID-19 Relief Programs, Treasury also carried out consultation on additional matters affecting Tribal nations. These are included below:

Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening Tribal Consultation and Nation to Nation Relationships

In response to the Memorandum, Treasury joined the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration to co-host six Tribal consultations in April 2021 to solicit recommendations for improving federal agency’s Tribal consultation and engagement programs. Consultation was held jointly to reduce the participation burden on Tribal leaders and hosted at times across the country that were meant to be convenient to different Tribal locations. In addition to the virtual consultation sessions, Tribes were encouraged to provide written comments to each participating agency.

In response, Treasury considered Tribal feedback and recommendations and developed an Action Plan for Tribal Consultation and Collaboration, which is discussed later in this report.

More information on the Tribal Affairs program and the Action Plan can be found on Treasury’s website Tribal Affairs | U.S. Department of the Treasury.

FinCEN Tribal Consultation on the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA)

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and is responsible for carrying out activities required under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AML Act) of 2020. The AML Act includes the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The CTA mandates FinCEN’s collection of beneficial ownership information from certain legal entities formed or registered to do business in the United States, including those formed or registered by filing the appropriate forms under Tribal law. The CTA also provides for FinCEN’s disclosure of beneficial ownership information to authorized users, including Tribal law enforcement, pursuant to security, confidentiality, and use protocols. The Act requires that Treasury establish partnerships with State, local, and Tribal government agencies and work collaboratively with these agencies to update the required reporting information. The CTA also requires Tribal organizations to provide certain notifications to those who form or register legal entities.

In furtherance of AML Act and CTA implementation, Treasury and FinCEN hosted a Tribal consultation on April 21, 2021, to learn more about Tribal specific processes, issues, and concerns related to the CTA. These included business formation, registration, and ongoing compliance; transmission of relevant data to and from FinCEN, including any relevant technological issues that should be considered; and the best methods for future Tribal engagement with FinCEN, including how best to communicate and disseminate information regarding the CTA.

FinCEN is focusing on CTA and broader AML Act implementation as a top priority. FinCEN had issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on beneficial ownership information reporting prior to the Tribal consultation on April 21, 2021, and the comment period for the ANPRM closed on May 5, 2021. FinCEN received over 200 comments, including several helpful comments from Tribal representatives, and FinCEN is currently taking all of the comments into consideration as FinCEN continues with the regulatory process. FinCEN hopes that Tribes will continue to participate in the rulemaking process by providing written comments to future regulatory proposals as FinCEN works to implement the CTA.

More information on FinCEN and the AML Act can be found at The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 | FinCEN.gov.

FinCEN Tribal Consultation Summary on the Corporate Transparency Act

TTAC Dual Taxation Report

Tribal nations have long expressed concerns about state and other non-federal entities taxation of Tribal enterprises and activities. The Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee Subcommittee undertook a study of the issue and provide recommendations for addressing the impacts of dual taxation. The TTAC accepted the Subcommittee Report on Dual Taxation at its December 9, 2020 Public Meeting. The TTAC requested that Treasury engage in Tribal consultation to ensure that Tribal governments had ample opportunity to provide input on the report and recommendations. Subsequently, Treasury hosted consultation on April 30 and June 2, 2021 to hear from Tribal leaders on whether the report accurately reflected the experience of their Tribal community on dual taxation, if any significant issues were not identified in the report and to solicit opinions on the recommendations included in the report.

Treasury is in the process of collating and summarizing Tribal input on the report. The summary will be presented to the TTAC for further review and response. In addition, Treasury has held discussions with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on related taxation issues, including the Indian Trade Act, which has dual taxation implications for Tribal governments.

The report and further information on the TTAC and Subcommittee’s work can be found on the TTAC’s website Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee | U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Treasury Meeting with Tribal Leaders and Organizations to Discuss Economic Recovery

On September 30, 2021 Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo and Chief Recovery Officer Jacob Leibenluft met with Tribal leaders and Tribal organizations to discuss economic recovery for Tribal governments and communities. Treasury is the lead federal department for Indian Country’s economic recovery, managing approximately $30 billion in Tribal set asides across seven programs for over 582 Tribes and 190 Alaska Native corporations. These programs are administrated by Treasury’s Office of Recovery Programs and includes staff fully dedicated to supporting Tribal communities. Deputy Secretary Adeyemo said Treasury has worked to disburse these funds quickly and equitably to Tribal governments after robust Tribal consultation.

The Deputy Secretary acknowledged that the losses Tribal nations have experienced through the pandemic have been exacerbated by the public health, infrastructure, and economic disparities that impacted Tribal communities prior to the pandemic and became lethal during this crisis. He said addressing such structural inequities, for Tribal and non-Tribal communities, is a recovery priority for the Biden Administration. Treasury officials and Tribal leaders also discussed support for Tribal economic development and inclusion of Tribal governments and communities in Treasury’s work department-wide.

Other Key Treasury Tribal Activities

Community Development Financial Institutions Fund

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are non-governmental financial entities whose primary mission is to promote community development by providing financing and development services to low-income communities, and by being accountable to those communities through their governing or advisory boards.

All the CDFI Fund’s programs have been used to support community development in economically distressed Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities (Native Communities). Several of the CDFI Fund’s programs were specifically involved in Native Communities in the past year as discussed below.

Native Initiatives

The Native Initiatives serves economically distressed Native Communities across the nation by providing funding to build the organizational capacity of Native CDFIs. As of September 30, 2021, there were 70 Certified Native CDFIs with assets totaling more than $1.3 billion. To be certified as a Native CDFI, an organization must meet the CDFI Fund’s certification eligibility requirements and direct more than 50 percent of its activities to Native Communities and/or Native persons.

Background

The CDFI Fund, established in September 1994 under the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act, sponsors Native Initiatives designed to increase access to credit, capital, and financial services in Native Communities. These initiatives support the creation and expansion of Native CDFIs primarily active in Native Communities.

The CDFI Fund’s authorizing statute mandated that the CDFI Fund conduct a study of lending and investment practices on Indian reservations and other lands held in trust by the United States. This study recognized barriers to private financing, identified the impact of such barriers on access to capital and credit for Native peoples, and provided options to address these barriers.

Following the November 2001 release of the CDFI Fund’s Native American Lending Study, the CDFI Fund formulated two chief strategies for overcoming barriers to credit, capital, and financial services in Native Communities:

  1. Expanding Native Opportunities: training programs that develop new Native CDFIs, strengthen existing Native CDFIs, and help Native CDFIs create financial education and asset building programs in Native communities, which is currently administered through the Capacity Building Initiative (CBI); and
  2. The Native CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program): a funding program that aims to increase the number and capacity of existing or new Native CDFIs. Since its 2001 launch, the NACA Program has provided more than $208.3 million in awards to help Native CDFIs deliver financial services and financial products to their communities.

The CDFI Fund commissioned the Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities Report (Report) as a follow-up to its 2001 Native American Lending Study. The first part of the Report, which was published in May 2016, examined recent successes in the effort to improve access to capital and credit in Native Communities as well as what could be done to build on that success. The second part of the Report, titled Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities: A Data Review (Data Review), was released in February 2017. The Data Review uses a range of data sets to document the evolution of Native Communities’ capital access. Ultimately, the two-part study is intended to provide research and analysis in support of further improvements in access to capital and credit in Native Communities.

Today, the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives provide support in two ways: through Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance Awards provided by the NACA Program, and through training, technical assistance, and other resources provided by the Capacity Building Initiative (CBI).

  • Financial Assistance Awards, used primarily for financial capital, are available only to entities that have been certified as Native CDFIs.
  • Technical Assistance Awards are available to certified Native CDFIs, Emerging Native CDFIs, and Sponsoring Entities. Technical Assistance Awards are typically used to acquire products or services including computer technology, staff training, and professional services such as hiring a consultant to conduct a market study, and support for other general capacity-building activities. Sponsoring Entities, unique to the NACA Program, create and support fledgling Native organizations as they move toward CDFI Certification.
  • Through the CBI, the CDFI Fund provides training and technical assistance designed to strengthen Native CDFIs’ capacity to provide access to capital and credit in Native Communities. The CBI includes opportunities for Native CDFIs to engage in workshops, webinars, and one-on-one technical assistance opportunities that are tailored to meet the specific needs of the communities they are serving. Additionally, reference materials from the CBI are posted on the CDFI Fund’s website to ensure all CDFIs can benefit from training and technical assistance provided, regardless of their ability to attend specific workshops or webinars.

Annual Activity

The CDFI Fund administered the CDFI Rapid Response Program (CDFI RRP), authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, to make $1.25 billion in awards designed to provide CDFIs with the necessary capital to respond to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 58 CDFIs that committed to direct their awards to investments in Native Communities received a total of $54.6 million in awards.

In FY 2021 the NACA Program awarded $2.5 million in Technical Assistance grants to 17 organizations. The CDFI Fund anticipates announcing its FY 2021 Financial Assistance award recipients in before the end of calendar year 2021.

Additionally, throughout 2021, CDFI Fund leadership and staff have routinely engaged Native CDFIs, national Native American organizations, and other federal agencies serving Native Communities. These engagements were intended to both receive direct feedback from the Native CDFI industry and increase the CDFI Fund’s capacity to increase access to capital and credit in Native Communities. While safety requirements due to COVID-19 curtailed the CDFI Fund’s ability to participate in-person, the CDFI Fund continued to engage with tribes in several virtual events.

On March 5, 2021, NACA Program staff participated in a Native CDFI Network webinar to discuss the CDFI Rapid Response Program. NACA Program staff provided information on the CDFI RRP application process, eligible uses of CDFI RRP awards, and answered questions from participating Native CDFIs.

On June 22, 2021, CDFI Fund Director Jodie Harris and NACA Program staff participated in Oweesta’s Capital Access Convening during which they provided an update on planned activities for FY 2021 and participated in a dialogue with Native CDFI leaders on how CDFI Fund programs can increase their impact in Native American communities.

Capital Magnet Fund

The Capital Magnet Fund competitively awards funds to CDFIs and qualified non-profit housing organizations to finance affordable housing activities, as well as related economic development activities and community service facilities. Award recipients are able to utilize Capital Magnet

Fund awards to create financing tools such as loan loss reserves, loan funds, equity funds, risk sharing loans, and loan guarantees. Awards must be used to leverage housing and economic development investments at least ten times the size of the award amount.

The Capital Magnet Fund’s FY 2020 awards, announced in February 2021, included two tribally designated housing entities located in Arizona, the Tohono O’odham KiKi Association and the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority. The Tohono O’odham KiKi Association received an $1,250,000 award and the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority received an $800,000 award.

New Markets Tax Credit Program

The CDFI Fund’s New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program) provides incentives to taxpayers with Federal tax liabilities to invest in Community Development Entities (CDEs) that were awarded allocations of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs). The proceeds from the taxpayers’ purchase of the NMTCs (Qualified Equity Investments) are used to make loans, equity investments and/or provide financial counseling and other related services to businesses located in Low-Income Communities. NMTCs are used to provide financing to for-profit and non-profit businesses located in Low-Income Communities (generally defined as Census tracts with poverty rates of greater than 20 percent or with median family incomes of less than 80 percent of the area median family income). All certified Native CDFIs are eligible to be certified as CDEs.

The NMTC Program is responsive to its legislative mandate, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which requires proportional allocation of NMTC authority to non-metropolitan counties. While current legislation does not include set-asides for minorities or indigenous peoples, the CDFI Fund has found that NMTC investments in Native lands are proportionate, reflecting the share of the U.S. population living on Native lands. Based on NMTC program reporting available through FY 2021, NMTC Program investments in Native lands exceed $1.5 billion.

CDEs awarded allocations in the calendar year 2020 Round (announced September 2021) committed to investing a minimum of $24.9 million in Federal Indian Reservations, Off-Reservation Trust Lands, Hawaiian Home Lands, or Alaska Native Village Statistical Areas.

Small Dollar Loan Program

The Small Dollar Loan Program (SDL Program) is a new program authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The FY 2021 funding round is the first award round of the program. The SDL Program was created to help Certified CDFIs address the issue of expanding consumer access to mainstream financial institutions and provide alternatives to high-cost small-dollar loans. The program was also created to help unbanked and underbanked populations build credit, access affordable capital, and allow greater access into the mainstream financial system.

The CDFI Fund’s FY 2021 SDL Program awards, announced in September 2021, included three Native CDFIs. Nimiipuu Community Development Fund, located in Idaho, received an award of $142,500. Northwest Native Development Fund, located in Washington, received an award of $159,000. The Sequoyah Fund, Inc., located in North Carolina, received an award of $135,000. These awards will provide capital needed to establish loan loss reserves that are critical to the support of small dollar lending initiatives, as well as provide technical assistance to help build their capacity to operate small dollar loan programs.

Bank Enterprise Award Program

The CDFI Fund anticipates announcing its FY 2021 Bank Enterprise Awards in Spring 2022.

Internal Revenue Service (additional information) http://www.irs.gov/Tribes

Within the IRS, the Indian Tribal Governments Office (ITG) uses partnership opportunities with Indian Tribal governments, including Alaska Native governments, Tribal associations, and other federal agencies, to respectfully and cooperatively meet the tax administration needs of Indian Tribal governments and the federal government.

  • Three ITG field groups consisting of Tribal government specialists work in locations near the seats of Tribal governments.
  • ITG specialists can address issues that relate to Tribal governments as employers; distributions to Tribal members; and the establishment of governmental programs, trusts, and businesses.

ITG has consulted extensively with Tribal governments throughout the development of its programs and continues to lead a review of IRS procedures to ensure compliance with EO 13175 and the Treasury Consultation Policy. During FY21, due to COVID, ITG’s participation in conferences has been limited. ITG Program Manager participated virtually with the Native American Financial Officers’ Association (NAFOA) and National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to provide general IRS updates at virtual conferences and events.

ITG staff placed an increased emphasis on virtual presentations ITG presented on the new Form 1099-NEC, Publication 5424, Income Guide for Native American Individuals and Sole Proprietors, which was published earlier in the fiscal year, and provided a national employment tax workshop.

ITG was responsive to COVID19. The IRS continued to offer a 60 percent rate reduction to qualifying Tribal casinos. The rate reduction was initially in place from March to October of 2020 but was later extended through September of 2021. ITG is now considering rate reductions on a case-by-case basis.

The IRS and ITG partner with Tribal governments to establish Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in their local communities. The VITA program has a three-pronged approach, including financial education and asset building, tax education, and tax preparation. The tax preparation aims to provide free tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income taxpayers. For example, during the recent filing season, 25 sites in the southwest were focused on Tribal communities and transmitted 12,934 returns. A total of $27,584,051 in refunds went out to members of those communities from these 25 sites! Of that total, $7,303,238 came from the Earned Income Tax Credit and $4,040,259 came from the Child Tax Credit. ITG provided training and technical support to the site volunteers at the sites sponsored by Tribal governments. In addition, ITG created a website with VITA information – Voluntary Tax Assistance Resources, which included a listing of VITA sites serving Indian Country.

Conclusion

Treasury monitors its Tribal consultation process in order to fulfill the mandate of E.O. 13175, and will propose updates to its process as may be appropriate. In FY 2021, Treasury greatly increased its engagement with Tribal governments and stakeholders and adopted many best practices to improve Tribal consultation and engagement. Currently, Treasury’s process is working effectively to ensure meaningful consultation and collaboration with Tribal officials in policies that have Tribal implications. Treasury is engaging internally in responding to the course of action laid out in the April 2021 Action Plan. Once this work is completed, Treasury will be reviewing its current Tribal consultation policy to incorporate relevant recommendations and formalize policies and procedures that will improve future Tribal engagement and demonstrate Treasury’s commitment to recognizing Tribal nation sovereignty in both policy and practice.

 

Appendix A: Treasury Department Tribal Consultation Policy

In furtherance of Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,” 65 FR 67249, issued by President Clinton on November 6, 2000, and the Presidential Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Tribal Consultation, 74 FR 57881, signed by President Obama on November 5, 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) establishes this Tribal Consultation Policy (Policy). The Policy outlines the guiding principles for all Treasury bureaus and offices engaging with Tribal Governments on matters with Tribal Implications.

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  • Definitions
    • Indian Tribe” refers to an Indian or Alaska Native Tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian Tribe pursuant to the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 U.S.C. 479a.
    • “Tribal Government” refers to the governing body of an Indian Tribe.
    • “Tribal Consultation” (or “Consultation”) involves the direct, timely, and interactive process of receiving input from Indian Tribes regarding proposed Treasury actions on Policies that have Tribal Implications.
    • “Policies that have Tribal Implications” has the same meaning as used in Executive Order 13175, and refers to Treasury regulations, published guidance, or other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian Tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes. It does not include policy matters of general applicability that may have an impact on Indian Tribes or their members; however, Treasury may consider Consultation on such matters under the circumstances described in Section III.A.
    • “Tribal Official” refers to an elected, appointed, or designated official or employee of the governing body of an Indian Tribe, or an authorized inter-Tribal organization.
  • Guiding Principles
    • The United States recognizes the right of Indian Tribes to self-government, and their inherent sovereign powers over their members and territories. The principle of consultation has its roots in the unique relationship between the federal government and the governments of Indian Tribes. This government-to-government relationship has a more than 200-year history and is built on the foundation of the U.S. Constitution, treaties, legislation, executive action, and judicial rulings. Most recently, consultation was recognized in Executive Order 13175 and in the November 5, 2009 Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation.
    • Treasury is committed to strengthening the government-to-government relationships between the United States and Indian Tribes. Treasury recognizes that agency policies, programs, and services may affect Indian Tribes and is committed to consulting with Tribal Officials with regard to Treasury Policies that have Tribal Implications. This policy will complement, not supersede, any existing laws, rules, or regulations that guide existing consultation processes with Indian Tribes.
    • Tribal Consultation will inform Treasury's development of regulations, published guidance, and other policy statements or actions, as it will enhance Treasury's understanding of the potential impacts of these activities on Indian Tribes.
    • Treasury is committed to developing and issuing regulations and guidance in a timely manner.
  • Consultation Policy
    • Statement of Policy

      Treasury will consult with Tribal Officials prior to implementing Policies that have Tribal Implications. While not required by this Policy or EO 13175, when specifically requested, Treasury also may consult with Tribal Officials regarding policy matters of general applicability that may have an impact on Indian Tribes or their members. Treasury may also conduct listening sessions, meetings with individual Tribes, and informal discussions with Tribal Officials on matters of concern.

      The Tribal Consultation process should achieve the following core objectives: (1) Timely identification of policy matters that may warrant Tribal Consultation; (2) implementation of a process that is accessible and convenient to Tribal participants; and (3) development of meaningful, transparent, and accountable dialogue involving the appropriate participants.

      Consistent with EO 13175, Tribal Consultation is not required for actions to enforce requirements administered by the agency or actions to penalize violations of these requirements, even if the actions impact multiple Indian Tribes or members of multiple Indian Tribes. Actions that do not require Tribal Consultation include, but are not limited to:
      • Administrative orders or practices involving penalties or equitable or similar relief to ameliorate the effects of prior violations or ensure compliance;
      • Administrative orders that impose specialized requirements of limited duration;
      • Audits, examinations, collections, litigation, or investigations; and
      • Internal agency guidelines with respect to such matters.
    • Role of the POCTC

      The POCTC is available to assist Treasury bureaus and offices in the identification of policy matters that may be appropriate for Tribal Consultation. OGC is also available to assist in resolving internal questions related to Tribal Consultation matters.

    • Procedures for Evaluating and Initiating Consultation
      1. Treasury bureaus and offices should conduct Tribal Consultation with respect to Policies that have Tribal Implications, including early outreach to solicit comments from appropriate Tribal Officials who may be substantially affected by changes in Treasury regulations, published guidance, or other policies under consideration. Program staff and legal counsel should assist in the identification of policy matters that are likely to require Tribal Consultation. Generally, every effort should be made to provide sufficient notice prior to scheduling Consultation, and the POCTC or Treasury office or bureau conducting a Consultation should inform Tribal Officials as soon as practicable if exceptional circumstances, such as legislative or regulatory deadlines or other factors beyond Treasury's control, warrant an abbreviated period of advance notice.
      2. Tribal Consultation will be conducted by Treasury officials who are knowledgeable about the matters at hand and authorized to speak for the Department.
      3. A phased approach to Tribal Consultation may be appropriate in some matters, in which a plan for more extensive Tribal Consultation is identified and a commitment is made to consult within a specified time frame.
      4. Treasury bureaus and offices should notify the POCTC in advance of final actions on policies that may have Tribal Implications. The POCTC may advise on the potential need for Tribal Consultation with respect to such matters.
      5. With respect to regulations and published guidance on matters that have Tribal Implications, to the extent practicable and permitted by law, Treasury will consult with Tribal Officials early in the process of developing such regulations or guidance. These Consultations should seek comment on compliance costs as appropriate to the nature of the regulation or guidance under development. The timing, nature, detail, and extent of Consultation will depend on the regulation or guidance involved.
    • Methods of Consultation

      Tribal Consultation may include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:
      • Federal Register (FR) notices or other published guidance soliciting comments. Tribal Consultation opportunities may be announced in FR notices and other published guidance, including guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin. FR notices and other published guidance requesting comments from Tribal Officials should be published as soon as practicable after Treasury determines that Tribal Consultation is appropriate. When practicable, a comment period of 60 to 120 days will be provided, to allow sufficient time for Tribal Officials to consult with their members and legal counsel on any matters of concern.
      • Meetings, written correspondence, conference calls, videoconferences, and workshops to encourage an exchange of views. Tribal Consultation may also be conducted through email, regular mail, telephone calls (including conference calls), video conferences, and in-person meetings or conferences, as schedules and resources permit. Where appropriate, intra- and inter-agency meetings also may be utilized to address areas of concern, conserve resources, and ensure comprehensive coverage of an issue. Disparities in time zones and travel costs, including those of Alaskan Native Tribes, will be taken into account when scheduling phone calls and conferences.
      • Targeted outreach. Treasury officials or the POCTC may also directly contact Tribal Officials to discuss Policies that have Tribal Implications. In addition, as resources and schedules permit, Treasury officials may attend conferences sponsored by inter-Tribal organizations to participate in agency listening sessions and/or to present on issues of concern to Indian Tribes.
    • Process for Tribal Officials to Request Consultation

      Tribal Officials are encouraged to contact directly the appropriate Treasury officials, on a government-to-government basis, to seek Consultation on Policies that have Tribal Implications. Consultation requests may also be addressed to the POCTC, who may direct the matter to additional Treasury officials, as appropriate. Consultation requests to the POCTC will be acknowledged within a reasonable period. The POCTC also may be contacted with general concerns or requests for information and may refer specific policy matters to the Treasury bureaus or offices with direct jurisdiction, as appropriate. The POCTC can be reached at Tribal.Consult@treasury.gov .
  • Judicial Review

This Policy is intended only to improve the internal management of Treasury, and is not intended to create any right, benefit, or trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against Treasury or any person.


[1] See Shawnee Tribe v. Yellen, Case No. 20-cv-1999 (APM) (D.D.C. Apr. 26, 2021).

[2] Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of Chehalis Reservation, 141 S.Ct. 2434 (2021).

Treasury Tribal Consultation Policy

The deadline for written comments has been extended to Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.  Comments can be sent to tribal.consult@treasury.gov

Federal Register - Notice of Tribal Consultation Policy

Public comments are welcomed at tribal.consult@treasury.gov

 

Contact

Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC)
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
Email: Tribal.Consult@treasury.gov

 

Treasury Department Progress Reports on Tribal Consultations and Activities

2018 Consultation Report
2017 Consultation Report
2016 Consultation Report
2015 Consultation Report​​
2014 Consultation Report
2013 Consultation Report
2012 Consultation Report
2011 Consultation Report
2010 Consultation Report

 

Recent Activity

  • On December 4, 2017, Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC), Beverly Babers conducted an in-person Tax Reform Listening Session. Tribal leaders presented issues and recommendations on matters related to taxation and economic development in Indian Country. The session was attended by several high-level Treasury officials and over 60 Tribal Leaders.

 

  • On April 24 – 25, 2017, Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC), Beverly Babers and IRS Director of Indian Tribal Governments & Tax Exempt Bonds Christie Jacobs participated in the 35th Annual Conference of the Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFOA) at San Francisco, California. Ms. Babers and Ms. Jacobs addressed the General Session on the topic “General Welfare Exclusion Roundtable: Implementation & Policy Improvements.” During the session, Ms. Babers announced that as a result of the Tribal listening session on December 15, the IRS will modify interim guidance on the direct pay lease income to include lease income from HEARTH Act leases.

 

  • While attending the April 25, NAFOA event, Ms. Babers and Ms. Jacobs met with tribal leaders for a discussion about restructuring tribal debt and the administration of the Bankruptcy Code in Indian Country. Also attending was Mr. Dante Desiderio, the Executive Director of NAFOA.

 

  • On April 18, 2017, Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) Beverly Babers and the IRS Director of Indian Tribal Governments & Tax Exempt Bonds Christie Jacobs met with Peter Hahn, Treasurer of the Seminole Nation (Florida), Liz Malerba, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs for the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) and consultant tax attorneys about tax issues in Indian country. The specific discussion surrounded tribal leases relative to the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act of 2012 (HEARTH Act).
     

  • On March 22, 2017, Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) Beverly Babers conducted a telephonic meeting with the leadership of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN). Members of the AFN expressed support for the Native American New Markets Tax Credit program (CDFI) and requested technical assistance with applications.
     

  • On March 15, 2017, Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) Beverly Babers met with Mr. Kitcki Carroll, Executive Director of the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Sovereignty Protection Fund, Liz Malerba, USET Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, and Michael Willis, USET tax counsel, for a discussion about the role of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC) and Treasury’s priorities for Indian country.

 

  • On February 14, 2017, Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) Beverly Babers participated in the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) public meeting roundtable on “Native Access to Capital Credit and Approaches that Increase Financial Security.” Along with Ms. Babers, the Director of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund Annie Donovan spoke at the forum. Also participating IRS Director of Indian Tribal Governments & Tax Exempt Bonds Christie Jacobs.
     

  • On December 20, 2016, Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) Beverly Babers held a telephonic meeting with the appointed members of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC) for an update about the status of TTAC’s first meeting. Under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the TTAC can meet when all members have been appointed. At this juncture, six of the seven committee members have been appointed.
     

  • On December 15, 2016, the Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC), Beverly Ortega Babers, senior Treasury officials, and the Internal Revenue Service hosted a telephonic listening session for all Tribes to discuss the income tax treatment of leases as it relates to The Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act (the HEARTH Act). The HEARTH Act creates a voluntary, alternative land leasing process available to tribes by amending the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955.

 

  • On September 26 and 27, 2016, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) Beverly Ortega Babers and the Tribal Affairs office along with senior members of the IRS and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI fund) participated in the White House 8th Tribal Nations Conference and the White House Council on Native American Affairs Sub-group meetings with the Nation’s Tribal Leaders.

 

  • On September 19, 2016, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) Beverly Ortega Babers participated in the 2016 NAFOA Fall Finance & Tribal Economies Conference at Charlotte, North Carolina. Ms. Babers was accompanied by an IRS Tribal Affairs official to discuss tax issues and the establishment of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC).

 

  • On July 27, 2016, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management & Budget and the newly-appointed Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC), and Treasury officials met with members of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC) to discuss the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions to tribal employers and HIS TSGAC proposals for administrative relief to address their concerns.

 

  • On June 2, 2016, Treasury officials participated in the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC) Quarterly Meeting to discuss the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions to tribal employers and other tax-related matters.

 

  • On May 13, 2016, Treasury officials conducted a tribal consultation conference call following up from the December 1, 2015, tribal consultation to discuss the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions to tribal employers. Tribal leaders were invited to send their specific questions about ACA, including on the employer shared responsibility provisions to the Treasury officials.

 

  • On May 9, 2016, Treasury officials met with members of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC) to discuss the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions to tribal employers and HIS TSGAC proposals for administrative relief to address their concerns.

 

  • On March 31, 2016, Treasury officials participated in the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC) Quarterly Meeting to discuss the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions to tribal employers and the excise tax on high-cost employer sponsored health coverage, as well as other tax-related matters.

 

  • On February 8, 2016, Treasury officials met with the Board of Directors of the United South and Eastern Tribes to discuss several tax-related matters.

 

  • On January 20, 2016, Treasury and IRS officials participated in a session of the Board of Directors of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) titled Employer Mandate Update. The discussion focused on the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions to tribal employers. The NIHB represents all 566 federal recognized Tribes.

 

  • On January 19, 2016, Treasury officials consulted with tribal leaders at the 2016 Winter Legislative Summit of the National Indian Gaming Association.

 

  • On December 21, 2015, House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Michigan) appointed Eugene Magnuson, Treasurer for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, as a member of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC).

 

  • On December 4, 2015, Treasury and IRS issued new guidance that allows Indian tribal governments greater flexibility to use bond volume cap allocations for Tribal Economic Development Bonds in circumstances involving "draw-down" loans in which bonds are issued in phases over time, rather than drawn down all at once. This more flexible approach will give Indian tribal governments up to three years to use these bond volume cap allocations if they issue at least 10% of the total bond amount within the first six months and 50% of the total bond amount within two years.

  • See Notice 2015-83, available at this link, which amends Notice 2012-48, 2012-31 I.R.B. 102 (July 30, 2012) for full details.

 

  • On December 1, 2015, Treasury hosted a phone consultation regarding the applicability of the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions of the Affordable Care Act to tribal employers. The call was arranged in response to requests from a number of tribal leaders and organizations and received 235 callers. Tribal leaders and tribal government specialists engaged in constructive dialogue with Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, and other representatives of the Treasury Department and IRS. Tribal governments and the specialists who are working with them to implement these provisions of the ACA are encouraged to visit the IRS web site on ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions. Follow-up questions may be addressed to a tribe's IRS Indian Tribal Government Specialist (details are posted at this link).

 

  • On September 23, 2015, Treasury issued a final Tribal Consultation Policy, released in the Federal Register, outlining the guiding principles for all Treasury bureaus and offices engaging with Tribal Governments on matters with tribal implications. The final policy supersedes the interim tribal consultation released on December 3, 2015. While the policy was being reviewed and finalized, Treasury has operated under the interim consultation policy.

 

  • In releasing the interim policy, Treasury solicited comments from Indian tribal governments and tribal organizations. The written comments and other feedback received via ongoing tribal consultation were very helpful in developing Treasury’s final tribal consultation policy. The final policy incorporates several changes, which are discussed in the preamble to the Federal Register notice publishing the final policy. The policy is available here​.

  • On September 18th, 2015, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service issued final guidance regarding per capita distributions made to members of Indian tribes from funds held in trust by the Secretary of the Interior. Developed in response to requests from tribal nations, the guidance concludes that per capita payments to tribal members from such trust accounts generally are not subject to taxation. The notice is available at this link​.

 

  • The Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 (H.R. 3043), signed into law by President Obama last September, requires the Treasury Department to established a Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC).Committee members will advise the Secretary on matters related to the taxation of Indians, the training of Internal Revenue Service field agents, and the provision of training and technical assistance to Native American financial officers. The Committee charter has been filed. We expect Committee members will establish initial bylaws after all TTAC members have been appointed.

 

  • On December 4, 2014, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Koskinen met with tribal leaders to listen to their comments, suggestions and concerns relating to federal taxation and government-to-government relations with the IRS. Tribal presidents, chairmen and other official representatives discussed an array of tribal tax issues with the Commissioner. Much of the focus was on the recently enacted Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, which codified a recent IRS revenue procedure on the subject and established a Tribal Advisory Committee at the Secretary of the Treasury’s level to advise the Department on tribal tax issues. Both the Commissioner and the tribal leaders agreed that the IRS must continue to honor and build on its recent success in meeting its federal trust responsibility towards Indian tribes. They also agreed that Treasury’s recent release of its interim Tribal Consultation Policy, which will apply to all Bureaus of the Treasury including IRS, will provide a solid foundation to ensure IRS engagement with tribes on a government-to-government basis and respect for tribal sovereignty.
     
  • On December 3, 2014, the Treasury issued an interim Tribal Consultation Policy, for consultation and comment. This notice was released in the Federal Register. Treasury is seeking comments from tribes on the interim policy by April 2, 2015 and will then consider those comments in revising and finalizing a policy. While the policy is being reviewed and finalized, Treasury will operate under the interim consultation policy. The policy is available for review .
     
     
  • On December 2, 2014, the Treasury Department held a government-to-government consultation on the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 (“Act”). In response to requests from a number of tribal leaders and organizations, this session was held in conjunction with the White House Tribal Nations Conference; over twenty five tribes were represented at the meeting by their leaders or other officials. Tribal leaders engaged in constructive dialogue with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Assistant Secretary Mark Mazur, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, and other representatives of the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service regarding the process for appointing a Tribal Advisory Committee, pursuant to the Act. Treasury also announced the release of its interim Tribal Consultation Policy at the meeting, requesting that tribal leaders send comments on the interim policy to tribal.consult@treasury.gov by April 2, 2015.
     
     
  • On October 28, 2014, Dr. Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination and Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation, served as a panelist and delivered remarks in a session on Tribal Tax Parity: Next Steps After a New Federal Law, as part of the National Congress of American Indians’ 2014 Annual Convention and Marketplace in Atlanta, Georgia. The panel discussed the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, which became law in the previous month. In addition, panelists addressed tribal tax issues that Congress will consider during their remaining term and tax reform opportunities anticipated for the next Congress.

 

  • On September 22, 2014, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation, delivered a speech at the Native American Finance Officers Association's Fall Finance & Tribal Economies Conference. During her remarks, which focused on government policies impacting tribal governments, Deputy Assistant Secretary Buckberg outlined a recent announcement that will streamline the process of applying for exemptions to the Affordable Care Act health coverage requirement. She explained that, beginning with returns filed in 2015, individuals who are eligible for services through an Indian health care provider may obtain a hardship exemption from the shared responsibility payment through the tax filing process.

 

  • This approach may be particularly helpful to families where some individuals are members of federally-recognized tribes, and others are not but are still eligible for services at Indian health services facilities. This approach will allow all family members to have the option to use the same tax filing process. Details of how to claim the exemptions are in the draft tax filing instructions released by the IRS on September 19, 2014.

 

  • On August 12, 2014, Treasury submitted a progress report on its tribal consultation policy to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This report was issued in response to President Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation, which required each agency head to submit a progress report on tribal consultation issues.

 

  • On July 30, 2014, in response to an invitation from the Indian Health Service Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC), Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation; Kimberly Koch from the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel; and Jonathan Damm, Tax Law Specialist at the IRS Office of Indian Tribal Governments, attended the TSGAC’s 2014 Quarterly Meeting. They discussed the Committee’s request that individuals eligible for a hardship exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s individual responsibility provision based on their eligibility to receive services from the Indian Health Service, be allowed to claim that exemption through the tax filing process. Allowing this exemption to be claimed on a tax return would be consistent with the current process for certain other exemptions, such as the tribal member exemption. Dr. Buckberg said that the Treasury Department and the IRS are actively working to determine whether the streamlined exemption process can be made available for both hardship exemptions. A brief conversation about the importance of this issue followed her remarks.

 

  • On July 23, 2014, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation, held a listening session with tribal leaders in the main Treasury Department building in Washington, D.C. This session was part of an ongoing dialogue to help the federal government better understand and address the needs of tribes in Indian Country. The event brought together 30 tribal leaders and officials who provided feedback on Treasury policies and economic development initiatives. Topics included the General Welfare Doctrine, per-capita distributions made to tribal members from tribal trust accounts, New Markets Tax Credits, and the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s study on Native American communities’ access to credit and capital. Read the Treasury Department Fact Sheet on Tribal Economic Development Bonds

 

  • On June 3, 2014, Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final tax guidance on the General Welfare Doctrine specifying that a wide range of benefits and services provided by Indian tribal governments qualify for the general welfare exclusion from income. These include programs for housing, education, cultural and religious purposes, and the elderly and disabled, among others. Treasury and the IRS created this guidance to address the unique needs and challenges of Indian tribal governments. While developing this guidance, Treasury and the IRS received over 120 written comments, convened listening sessions, and participated in other formal and informal consultations to facilitate government-to-government dialogues between the U.S. federal and Indian tribal governments and understand key tribal concerns. The final guidance (Rev. Proc. 2014-35) supersedes the preliminary guidance issued on December 5, 2012 (IRS Notice 2012-75), which has been effective since that date.​

 

  • On Tuesday, March 11, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur spoke at the National Congress of American Indians 2014 Executive Winter Session. During the session, “Federal Tax Issues Impacting Indian Country,” Assistant Secretary Mazur focused on the interim guidance regarding per capita distributions, the general welfare exclusion guidance, tax reform, and tribal economic development bonds. The remarks were followed by a brief listening session to solicit feedback from the Native American community.

 

  • On Monday, March 10, Treasury and IRS issued a notice regarding per capita distributions made to members of Indian tribes from funds held in trust by the Secretary of the Interior. In response to feedback from tribal nations, the guidance clarifies that, generally, these per capita payments will not be subject to federal income tax. This notice was issued as interim guidance to allow Indian tribes time to review and provide feedback. Based on these comments, Treasury and IRS will consider revisions before issuing a final notice.

 

  • On February 3, 2014, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation, held a listening session during the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Impact Week Meeting. While the session was held at the USET conference, tribal leaders nationally were invited to attend. Deputy Assistant Secretary Buckberg provided opening remarks, then took questions. In her speech, she emphasized the Administration’s commitment to addressing the unique economic issues facing Indian Country, discussed progress on revisions to the General Welfare Exclusion guidance, and forthcoming guidance on per capita distributions made to Indian tribe members from trust accounts.

 

  • On January 27, 2014, Treasury and IRS hosted a phone consultation to discuss forthcoming guidance concerning the federal income tax treatment of per capita distributions made to Indian tribe members from funds held in trust by the Secretary of the Interior. During the call, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation, and Christie Jacobs, Acting Director for Government Entities, explained that we expect the guidance to clarify that per capita payments to tribal members that are made from trust accounts will not subject to federal income tax. Over 170 individuals participated in the call.

 

  • On January 22, 2014, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation, and Kimberly Koch, from the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel, attended the 2014 Quarterly Meeting of the Indian Health Service (TSGAC) Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee. At this meeting, Deputy Assistant Secretary Buckberg delivered brief remarks regarding the process for claiming exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s individual responsibility provision. Deputy Assistant Secretary Buckberg emphasized that Treasury and IRS understand TSGAC’s desire to streamline the exemption process for all Native Americans and their eligible family members and noted that we are already looking into the issue. Her remarks were followed by a conversation about the importance of the issue and potential solutions for the operational aspects.

 

  • On September 10, 2013, Dr. Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination in the Office of Economic Policy, gave a presentation for the Native American Finance Officers' Association (NAFOA) in Seattle, WA. The presentation was part of NAFOA’s Fall Finance & Tribal Economies Conference which brought together tribal leaders, financial professionals, and policy makers to discuss key economic issues facing the tribal community. In her speech​, Deputy Assistant Secretary Buckberg emphasized Treasury’s commitment to tribal consultation, outlined the Agency’s recent initiatives, and described federal lending and bond programs that can bring capital and credit to Indian Country – to address issues ranging from tribal economic development to financing for small businesses.

 

  • On July 23, 2013, Dr. Elaine Buckberg, Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination in the Office of Economic Policy, held a consultation and listening session with tribal leaders at the Treasury offices in Washington D.C. This session was a part of an ongoing dialogue to help the federal government better understand and address the needs of tribes across Indian Country. This session brought together 24 tribal leaders who provided feedback on Treasury policies and economic development initiatives including the General Welfare Doctrine, Tribal Economic Development Bonds (TEDB) and the upcoming Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) study on Native American communities' access to credit and capital.

 

  • On July 16, 2013, the Treasury Department and IRS conducted a phone consultation with Alaska Regional Corporations (ARCs) to discuss a forthcoming draft notice applying the voluntary withholding provisions to dividends and other payments made by an ARC. Voluntary income tax withholding arrangements allow taxpayers to avoid potentially burdensome final tax payments at the end of the year. Twenty-seven tribal representatives participated in the call.
     
  • On April 18, 2013, the Treasury Department announced that Dr. Elaine Buckberg is the new Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation. Dr. Buckberg is also the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination, in the Treasury's Office of Economic Policy.
     
  • On March 6, 2013, Alex Gelber, Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Microeconomic Analysis in the Office of Economic Policy, gave a presentation for the 2013 National Congress of American Indian Executive Council's Winter Session. His speech provided an overview of Treasury's recent work on behalf of Indian Country.
     
  • On December 5, 2012, in a speech at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin announced the release by Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of important new tax guidance on the General Welfare Doctrine. The IRS proposed guidance lays out broad exclusions from income of certain benefits that Indian tribal governments provide to tribal members to ensure that government benefits provided to those in need are not subject to income tax. This guidance was developed in consultation with tribal leaders who helped ensure that it addresses the needs of Indian tribal governments and their members.
    • Treasury and the IRS consulted with tribal leaders and other stakeholders for more than a year on this issue.
    • In Notice 2012-75, the IRS outlines a proposed set of general principles and safe harbors under which Indian tribal government benefits are covered under this exclusion.
    • The new guidance became effective immediately. However, consistent with Treasury's commitment to meaningful tribal consultation, Treasury issued this new guidance in proposed form so that we can continue to work with tribal members' to improve the guidance moving forward
  • On June 14, 2012,Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination Aaron Klein testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee at a hearing entitled, "New ​Tax Burdens on Tribal Self-Determination". Testimony of Aaron Klein
     
  • On May 30,2012, the Treasury Department and the IRS hosted a stakeholder conference call with tribes and tribal leaders that provided additional opportunities for input and further discussion of the issues.
     
  • On May 14, 2012,the Treasury Department and IRS jointly conducted another consultation and listening session regarding the application of the General Welfare Exclusion to Benefits Provided under Indian Tribal Government Programs. Pursuant to Treasury's Tribal Consultation Policy and Executive Order 13175, Treasury and the IRS were actively engaged in consultation with Tribes and Tribal leaders. Treasury and the IRS began consultation on this specific topic in November 2011, and held several public, in-person sessions. Treasury and IRS requested written comments and received over 65 comments in response to Notice 2011-94. To address those concerns, the Office of Indian Tribal Governments of the IRS reviewed the administrative steps it can take to develop a national coordination process in order to ensure that general welfare programs are reviewed in a consistent fashion.
     
  • On March 8, 2012,Treasury and IRS officials conducted a consultation and listening session with Tribal Leaders in Washington, D.C., during the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Executive Council session meetings. The conversation lasted two hours and focused on various ideas and concepts to improve the general welfare exclusion to Indian tribal government programs. During the conversation, concepts were raised by the California Association of Tribal Governments, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, United South and Easter Tribes, Inc., the Native American Finance Officers Association and the National Congress of American Indians, along with others raised by Tribal leaders, members and interested parties in attendance.​​

 

 

 

  • In December 2011, the Treasury Department sent to Congress a Report and Recommendations regarding Tribal Economic Development Bond provision under Section 7821 of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

  • The Treasury Department and the IRS began the consultation process regarding the application of the general welfare exclusion to benefits provided under Indian Tribal Government programs. The notice invited comments concerning the application of the general welfare exclusion from taxable income of some benefits that Indian tribal governments provide to tribal members. Treasury and the IRS noted plans to hold consultation listening meetings to receive input on the general welfare exclusion directly from tribal leaders.

 

  • On November 14, 2011, the IRS announced new guidance on revenue procedures that provide a safe harbor for Indian tribes to establish trusts for tribal members who are minors or legally incompetent, for the distribution of gaming revenues under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). It is available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-11-56.pdf

 

 

  • On May 9, 2011, the Treasury Department announced its intention to create a Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance. This was one in a series of steps that Treasury took to establish the new Federal Insurance Office (FIO) created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Committee was created to provide advice to the FIO and the Treasury Department, including to the FIO Director in the Director's role as a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). Through the Committee was structured so that the FIO and the Treasury Department could draw upon the deep knowledge and regulatory experience of state insurance regulators, as well as the perspective of industry experts, academics, and other stakeholders and affected constituencies. Half of the Committee's membership was reserved for state and tribal insurance regulators. Read the press release and the Federal Register Notice.
     
  • On March 3, 2011, representatives from the Treasury and the IRS attended a Tribal Nations Conference Follow-up Meeting with Tribal Leaders. The meeting provided a forum for tribal leaders to discuss and distill recommendation from the 2010 White House Tribal Nations Conference. Topics of discussion within the Treasury Department's purview included Economic Development Bonds and New Market Tax Credits. If you have comment or questions on these or other topics, please send an email to us at the link below.

 

  • On December 16, 2010, Treasury Deputy Secretary, Neal S. Wolin participated in the White House Tribal Nations Conference of 2010. Each of the 565 federally recognized tribes were invited to send one tribal leader to the conference, where they were able to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Following a keynote speech by President Obama, Treasury Deputy Secretary Wolin served on a panel addressing economic development, together with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shawn Donovan, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Export-Import Bank Chairman Hochberg and other high-level administration officials.

 

  • In November 2010, deadlines for issuing bonds under the TEDB provision in Section 7871(f) of the Internal Revenue Code were extended. The deadline for the first tranche was extended to June 30, 2011 with the possibility of a further extension to the end of 2011 upon request. The deadline for the second tranche remained as of the end of December 2011. For more details, see the web posting by the Office of Indian Tribal Governments at the Internal Revenue Service.

 

  • In August 2010, Treasury's progress report on a department-wide review of its tribal consultation policies, required by a Presidential Memorandum issued on November 5, 2009,was submitted on time to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In accordance with President Obama's memo, Treasury planned to continue to submit to OMB an annual progress report on its tribal consultation process and activities.

 

  • On July 23 , 2010, Treasury submitted a progress report on its tribal consultation policy to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This report was issued in response to President Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation, which required each agency head to submit a progress report on tribal consultation issues.

 

  • Throughout the summer of 2010, the Treasury Department's Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program, an arm of the CDFI Fund, launched a new "Economic Development Strategies in Indian Country" workshop series. Co-sponsored with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Seattle Branch, these workshops – in Albuquerque, Anchorage, Sacramento, Oklahoma City and Seattle – focused on economic development in Native communities. For more details, including plans for future workshops, see the NACA website.

 

  • ​Also during the summer, Treasury participated in an administration-wide review of the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This review ultimately led to the President's announcement, during his remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in December, that the United States supports the U.N. Declaration.

 

  • Buckberg emphasized Treasury’s commitment to tribal consultation, outlined the Agency’s recent initiatives, and described federal lending and bond programs that can bring capital and credit to Indian Country – to address issues ranging from tribal economic development to financing for small businesses.