June 20: 5 Things You Need to Know This Week

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Photo of the Week: Last Friday, our Board of Directors and Corporate Advisory Committee met for a strategic planning meeting. Special thanks to Dorsey & Whitney LLP for hosting us in their Denver office, and to the American Indian College Fund for providing NAFOA a blanket to gift to Mary Streitz of Dorsey & Whitney.

1. MUST READ: SUPREME COURT FINDS BANKRUPTCY CODE ABROGATES TRIBAL SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that because Indian tribes are indisputably governments, the Bankruptcy Code unmistakably abrogates their sovereign immunity to bankruptcy court proceedings.

In an 8-1 decision, the Court found that when Congress abrogates tribal sovereign immunity, it must do so through a clear statement of congressional intent. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, et al. v. Coughlin, Case No. 22-227, slip op. at 4 (June 15, 2023) (“Coughlin”). While this is a demanding standard, the Court held that the rule is not a “magic-words” requirement. Id. The Court found the standard was met in part based upon the specific text and structure of the definition of “governmental unit” in the Bankruptcy Code (the “Code”). Id. at 5.

By Christine Swanick, Partner, Sheppard Mullin


2. GUIDANCE: IRS RELEASES GUIDANCE ON DIRECT PAY

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance on elective payments (better known as “Direct Pay”) and “transfers of certain credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).”

At last week’s Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC) public meeting, Treasurer of the United States, Chief Marilynn Malerba, announced that the White House and Department of the Treasury will hold two stakeholder briefings on this new guidance:

Elective Pay Stakeholder Briefing
Thursday, June 15th at 12:00 PM Eastern Time:
Register
Thursday, June 29th at 3:00 PM Eastern Time
Register


3. POLICY: TREASURY ANNOUNCES FRAMEWORK TO PROMOTE FAIRER, MORE EQUITABLE COMPLIANCE ACROSS PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

The Department of the Treasury announced a new initiative aimed at increasing fairness and transparency within the Department’s compliance and enforcement practices. “The Treasury Department provides critical services that touch the lives of millions of American families, workers, and businesses,” said Deputy Secretary Adeyemo. “[The] announcement is part of a comprehensive strategy directed by Secretary Yellen to promote fairness and accountability in our compliance and enforcement efforts as we safeguard against waste, fraud, and abuse.”

The Treasury Department will be implementing this new framework and undergo a series of four steps:

  1. Review existing communication, compliance monitoring, and enforcement policies and procedures.
  2. Consult with key stakeholders to identify ways to strengthen the fair and impartial enforcement and compliance actions.
  3. Develop methods to regularly test compliance and enforcement systems to detect disparate impacts.
  4. Regularly report to Deputy Secretary.


4. MORE POLICY: IRS ISSUES NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR LOW INCOME COMMUNITY BONUS CREDIT PROGRAM

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a proposed rulemaking notice for the Low Income Community Bonus Credit Program. They will be holding tribal consultation on June 26th with a comment period open now and closing on June 30. Comments can be submitted to tribal.consult@treasury.gov.

Tribal Consultation: 48(e) Additional Guidance
Jun 26, 2023, at 1:00 PM in Eastern Time 


5. JOBS: PASKENTA BAND OF NOMLAKI INDIANS IS SEEKING CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

The Chief Financial Officer will be responsible for directing all financial and accounting functions of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians Tribal Government and its subordinate, non-gaming entities. The CFO will work with the CEO and Tribal Council to develop and implement an overall financial strategy to maintain and enhance the financial health of the Tribe. Ensures enforcement of, and compliance with, the Tribal Fiscal Policies and Ordinances. The CFO will manage the Finance Department to ensure that all audits, budgets, monthly and annual financial reports, financial administration of grants, and other accounting functions are timely and accurately completed. The CFO must be highly knowledgeable about generally accepted accounting principles GAAP/GASB.


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