Federal judge exempts NY Indian tribes from cigarette tax

A federal judge in New York blocked the state from enforcing new cigarette taxes on any Indian tribe.

Just today, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn ruled that the NY Department of Taxation and Finance cannot start collecting sales taxes on cigarettes sold by Native American retailers until at least October 1.

On Thursday, Judge Kahn granted the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Nation’s request for a temporary restraining order. The Mohawk Nation asked for an injunction, claiming that the taxes violate their tribal sovereignty.

Judge Kahn has ordered the Mohawks’ injunction hearings to begin next Thursday, September 23. The Senecas’ and Cayugas’ injunction hearings began before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara, based in Buffalo, earlier this week.

Judge Kahn’s ruling today supersedes a ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals earlier this week, which said that the state can move ahead with enforcement of the tax.

Read more.

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