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Associate Tribal Members Also Qualify For State Tax Exemptions

Opinions received from state officials over the past few years have now made it possible for associate members of the Fort Peck Tribes to enjoy the same tax benefits as fully enrolled members.

In the past, it was the Fort Peck Tribes’ policy to not issue certificates of enrollment to associate members of the Fort Peck Tribes, a form that was necessary for tribal members to be able to claim a state income tax exemption for any income earned while living and working on their home reservation.

Changes made to the requirements to claim the exemption now requires a Montana ETM form be completed, which only requires a tribal enrollment number. This change brought to light that associate members should also qualify for the state income tax exemption because they, too, have a tribal enrollment number.

Officials at the Montana Department of Revenue, when questioned about the requirements, stated that the state does not differentiate between classes of tribal members — if a person is issued a tribal enrollment number, then that person is considered by the state to be an enrolled member of a Native American tribe, regardless if it is as a full member or as an associate member. This led to questions as to whether or not associate members should also be allowed the same exemption when licensing vehicles — and it was determined that they should.

According to the Roosevelt County Treasurer’s Office, persons wanting to license their vehicle using the enrolled tribal member exemption should bring a copy of their tribal ID when they come to the office.

Associate members can file amended tax returns to claim refunds owed them for any year still accepting amended returns, usually up to three years. Those wishing to file an amended return are encouraged to consult a local tax preparer.

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