Congress Passes Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act


Congress Passes Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act

September 17, 2014

In an extraordinary demonstration of bipartisan support, the 113th U.S. Congress passed the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act 2013 (Act). On September 18, 2014, the Act was passed by the  U.S. Senate by Unanimous Consent. Earlier in the week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure by over two-thirds majority. It is fully expected to be signed into law by the President. The Act gives greater clarity and permanence to tribal government general welfare programs.  
The Act firmly supports tribal self-determination and sovereignty by granting flexibility for tribal leaders to determine appropriate programs and services to their citizens and also requires ambiguities in the statute to be resolved in favor of Indian tribes. 
Importantly, the Act builds upon the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Revenue Procedure [Rev. Proc. 2014-35] issued in June 2014 and further directs the Secretary of the Treasury to: 
  1. Establish a Tribal Advisory Committee to advise on matters relating to taxation of tribal governments; 
  2. Require the training and education of IRS agents on federal Indian law and the implementation of the new provisions; and
  3. Temporarily suspend the general welfare examinations of tribal governments.
Having final guidance supported by legislation is a great accomplishment by the Administration, Congress, and tribal leadership.

For more information, please contact Kayla Gebeck, or (202) 770-8321.

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