OKLAHOMA CITY —
The tribe, Barrett said, does collect sales tax at its FireLake Discount Foods store as a way to level the playing field with other local grocery stores. “It’s (the money) used for education and public services. Our government services are financed by our tax collection and our business profits go into expanding our businesses,” he said.
Absentee-Shawnee Gov. Edwina Butler-Wolfe said she could not comment on the issue ahead of the meeting while a message for Sac and Fox Nation Principal Chief George Thurman was not returned. A number for Kickapoo Tribe Chairman Gilbert Salazar could not be located.
Businesses collect sales tax and remit it to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, which then remits it to cities, counties and the state. But there is no way for the commission to know whether a tribal member or a non-tribal member paid the sales tax, said Paula Ross, agency spokeswoman.
And the commission can’t audit the tribes because it does not have jurisdiction, she added.
The majority of the 39 tribes in Oklahoma have permits to collect sales tax, Ross said.
A tribe may have a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with a municipality.
Follow Kristi Eaton on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kristieaton.
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