Tribal Business Structures Webinar Series: Part 1 - Section 17 Federal Law Corporations

November 15, 2017

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM 

In the first of this two-part series, we'll discuss why choosing a business structure is important to tribal economic development, with a focus on Section 17-Federal Law Corporations and why they may or may not be a good vehicle for your tribe.

Co-presented by Kathleen M. Nilles, Partner, Holland & Knight and Kenneth W. Parsons, Senior Counsel, Holland & Knight


Over 70 years ago, in Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Congress provided a tool for Indian tribal governments to conduct business “in the modern world” by authorizing the Department of Interior to issue federal corporate charters to Indian tribes.  Many tribes have taken advantage of this provision in federal law for various purposes, including operating companies, holding companies, insurance companies and investment entities.   Section 17 corporations have many advantages, including certainty of federal tax treatment, limitation of liability, sovereign immunity (unless specifically waived), favorable tax treatment (in most states) and effective segregation of liability.   

In this session, you will learn :  

  • The various steps to securing a federal charter from the Department of Interior

  • Sovereign immunity and waiver provisions that are typically contained in such charters

  • Federal income tax treatment and benefits

  • Governance options

  • How various states regard Section 17 corporations

  • Disadvantages of utilizing Section 17 corporations

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