Double-Dip Hell: NCAI Demands Illegally Taxed Native Veterans Get Paid

Megan Baker
August 04, 2013


The National Congress of American Indians passed a resolution recently urging Congress to recompense eligible Native American service members and veterans who were illegally taxed by the state in which their reservation was domiciled during their active service.

According to federal law, service members with active duty status who legally claim to live on federal reservations are not subject to income taxation by the state in which the reservation is domiciled.

This new resolution argues that 26 states have taxed service members for as long as 24 years.

Nine years ago, an attempt was made in Washington D.C. to address this issue.

The American Indian Veterans Pay Restoration Act of 2004, sponsored by New Mexico Representative Tom Udall, sought to provide remittance to certain Indian veterans of amounts withheld from military basic pay for state income tax purposes while those veterans were in active service and were domiciled in Indian Country.

In his introduction speech, Udall decried the illegal taxation of service members that claimed the reservation as their home. The legislation failed due to a lack of support in the House Armed Services Committee.

In December 2009, the state of New Mexico began to refund any state income tax that was withheld from service members legally domiciled on reservation land while serving.

The fund expired on January 1, 2013. Other states have yet to follow suit.

During the 2013 Midyear Session of the NCAI held in Reno, Nevada from June 24 through 27, the General Assembly called upon the federal government to fulfill its obligations to American Indians, citing its moral and legal federal trust responsibility.

This new resolution will be a policy of the NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.