NYS Court Rules Against Tribes on Cig Taxes

A NYS appeals court on Tuesday lifted a temporary order preventing the state from taxing cigarettes sold by Indian tribes to non-Native customers. Tthe Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Rochester, NY handed down the decision.The Seneca Indian Nation had asked the appeals court to extend the ban while it continues to challenge regulations adopted by state taxing officials. The court’s one-page order denies the request for a preliminary injunction and vacates the temporary restraining order that has been in place since the last court ruling on June 10.Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter says the WNY tribe will shift from selling name-brand cigarettes to reservation-made cigarettes, which he says remain immune from the state’s $4.35-per-pack tax.NYS Assemblyman Brian Kolb released this statement Tuesday afternoon:”Tuesday was a good day for upstate. The just-announced State Appellate Division ruling that lifted the temporary order preventing the collection of taxes on cigarettes sold on Native American lands to non-Native American Indians is a big victory for taxpayers, businesses and everyone who believes in the rule of law. We have endured court case after court case, delay after delay, excuse after excuse. Now, all the legal roadblocks have finally been removed. New York has a ‘green light’ to move full speed ahead with enforcing the law, collecting the taxes and leveling the playing field. I urge the Department of Taxation and Finance to begin the tax collections immediately. It has taken 17 years, but we are finally at the point where the law is going to be enforced and we will have justice and fairness for all.”

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