In these consolidated cases, respondent determined deficiencies in petitioners' Federal income taxes as follows:
Docket No. Petitioner Year Deficiency 7095-79 William Hoptowit and Elaine A. Hoptowit ...... 1975 $12,608.40 7096-79 Elaine A. Hoptowit ........... 1976 1,216.00 7097-79 William H. Hoptowit .......... 1976 38,484.38
In an amendment to his answer, respondent alleges an increased deficiency in the income tax of petitioner William H. Hoptowit for 1976 (docket No. 7097-79) resulting from the
The issues for decision are:
(1) Whether income earned by an enrolled member of the Yakima Indian Nation from the sale of tobacco products in a "smokeshop" on the Yakima Reservation is subject to Federal income taxation.
(2) Whether amounts received in return for services performed as a member of the Yakima Tribal Council are subject to Federal income taxation.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Petitioners William H. Hoptowit and Elaine A. Hoptowit, husband and wife, resided in Toppenish, Wash., at the time they filed the petitions herein. They filed a joint Federal income tax return for 1975 and separate (as married individuals filing separately) Federal income tax returns for 1976 with the Internal Revenue Service Center, Ogden, Utah.
Petitioner William H. Hoptowit (hereinafter petitioner) is a noncompetent, enrolled member of the Yakima Indian Nation (the tribe).
One of the council's purposes in adopting Resolution T-22-75 was to obtain funds through tribal taxation of cigarette sales in order to provide social services for needy members of the tribe. The resolution was approved by the Secretary of the Interior. The Bureau of Indian Affairs administered the distribution of, and payments received for, cigarettes wholesaled by the tribe.
During 1975 and 1976, petitioner derived net profits from his smokeshop business in the respective amounts of $40,308.10 and $70,993.52.
During 1976, in addition to operating the smokeshop, petitioner served as an elected member of the council. The
As governing officials, members of the council have the duty to protect and preserve the treaty and to continuously serve the best interests of the people of the tribe. In performing their duties, council members are required to travel a great deal to hearings and meetings concerning the tribe. They receive per diem payments for days on which they actually serve in their official capacity. The per diem amounts are determined by the council in its annual budget resolution, which is subject to the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
During 1976, petitioner received from the tribe per diem payments totaling $18,000 in return for services performed as a member of the council. The funds from which petitioner's per diem payments were made were originally held in trust by the U.S. Government for the benefit of the tribe.
The Yakima Indian Reservation comprises 1,367,405 acres. Of this acreage, 842,978 acres are tribally owned, 274,988 acres are allotted to tribal members, 23 acres are Government owned, and 249,416 acres are owned by non-Indians. These lands were reserved from some 10,800,000 acres that were ceded to the United States in the treaty. Article II of the treaty provides that the reservation "shall be set apart * * * for the exclusive use and benefit" of the tribe. The treaty further provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
All which sums of money shall be applied to the use and benefit of said Indians, under the direction of the President of the United States, who may from time to time determine, at his discretion, upon what beneficial objects to expend the same for them. And the superintendent of Indian affairs, or other proper officer, shall each year inform the President of the wishes of the Indians in relation thereto.
ARTICLE V. The United States further agree to establish at suitable points within said reservation, within one year after the ratification hereof, two schools, erecting the necessary buildings, keeping them in repair, and providing them with furniture, books, and stationery, one of which shall be an agricultural and industrial school, to be located at the agency, and to be free to the children of the said confederated tribes and bands of Indians, and to employ one superintendent of teaching and two teachers; to build two blacksmiths' shops, to one of which shall be attached a tin shop, and to the other a gunsmith's shop; one carpenter's shop, one wagon and ploughmaker's shop, and to keep the same in repair and furnished with the necessary tools; to employ one superintendent of farming and two farmers, two blacksmith, one tinner, one gunsmith, one carpenter, one wagon and ploughmaker, for the instruction of the Indians in trades and to assist them in the same; to erect one saw-mill and one flouring-mill, keeping the same in repair and furnished with the necessary tools and fixtures; to erect a hospital, keeping the same in repair and provided with the necessary medicines and furniture, and to employ a physician; and to erect, keep in repair, and provided with the necessary furniture, the buildings required for the accommodation of the said employees. The said buildings and establishments to be maintained and kept in repair as aforesaid, and the employees to be kept in service for the period of twenty years.
And in view of the fact that the head chief of the said confederated tribes and bands of Indians is expected, and will be called upon, to perform many services of a public character, occupying much of his time, the United States further agrees to pay to the said confederated tribes and bands of Indians five hundred dollars per year, for the term of twenty years after the ratification hereof, as a salary for such person as the said (954) confederated tribes and bands of Indians may select to be their head chief; to build for him at a suitable point on the reservation a comfortable house and properly
And it is distinctly understood and agreed that * * * all the expenditures and expenses contemplated in this article of this treaty shall be defrayed by the United States, and shall not be deducted from the annuities agreed to be paid to said confederated tribes and bands of Indians. Nor shall the cost of transporting the goods for the annuity payments be charged upon the annuities, but shall be defrayed by the United States.
* * * * * * *
ARTICLE VII. The annuities of the aforesaid confederated tribes and bands of Indians shall not be taken to pay the debts of individuals.
Respondent determined that both the smokeshop income and the per diem payments received by petitioner were income taxable to him.
Sections 1 and 61 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 broadly provide that the income of every individual, from whatever source derived, is subject to the Federal income tax. The parties agree that the income of Indians, as well as other individuals, is taxable "unless an exemption from taxation can be found in the language of a Treaty or Act of Congress." Commissioner v. Walker, 326 F.2d 261, 263 (9th Cir. 1964), affg. in part and revg. in part 37 T.C. 962 (1962), and cases there cited; Jourdain v. Commissioner, 71 T.C. 980, 987 (1979), affd. per curiam 617 F.2d 507 (8th Cir. 1980). Petitioner's primary contention is that certain language in the treaty should be construed to confer an income tax exemption for the smokeshop income and per diem payments that he received during 1975 and 1976.
It is true, as petitioner points out, that ambiguous language in a treaty or statute is to be construed in favor of Indians. See, e.g., Squire v. Capoeman, 351 U.S. 1, 6-7 (1956). This principle "comes into play," however, "only if such statute or treaty contains language which can reasonably be construed to confer income [tax] exemptions." Holt v. Commissioner, 364 F.2d 38, 40 (8th Cir. 1966), affg. 44 T.C. 686 (1965). We are not free to create, by implication, a tax exemption for petitioner. Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Jones, 411 U.S. 145, 156 (1973); Fry v. United States, 557 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1977); Jourdain v. Commissioner, supra at 990. Thus, we can hold for the
1. Smokeshop Income
With respect to the smokeshop income, petitioner emphasizes the provision in article II of the treaty stating that the reservation shall be set apart for the "exclusive use and benefit" of the tribe. Petitioner argues that this language exempts income received by members of the tribe "as a result of the use of reservation land and resources." He contends that the smokeshop business, conducted on reservation land and regulated by the council, was "merged with and indistinguishable from the reservation thereby being for the exclusive use and benefit of the Yakima Nation." Petitioner argues that, therefore, the smokeshop income must be held to be tax exempt "because to tax such income would benefit persons other than the Yakima Nation membership."
The treaty nowhere expressly deals with the question of taxation of the tribe or its members. Although the general language relied upon by petitioner can be read as a limitation on State authority to tax income generated on the reservation (see McClanahan v. Arizona State Tax Commission, 411 U.S. 164, 174-175 (1973)), we do not think it can be read to exempt the income of a member of the tribe from Federal taxation. See United States v. Farris, 624 F.2d 890, 893 (9th Cir. 1980), noting that general treaty language such as that devoting land to a tribe's "exclusive use" is not sufficient to exempt Indians from Federal laws of general applicability. In any event, even if we assume that the "exclusive use and benefit" language in article II of the treaty exempts income derived by the tribe or its members from the direct use of reservation land and resources, we think it clear that such language does not exempt the smokeshop income from taxation.
In Squire v. Capoeman, supra, which also involved an Indian taxpayer, the Supreme Court found an exemption from Federal income taxation in the General Allotment Act of 1887 (see note 3 supra). The act provided that allotted land was to be held in trust by the United States for the "sole use and benefit" of the Indian allottee, subject to a promise to convey the fee interest to the allottee at the end of the trust "free of
Based on the "derived-directly-from-the-land" standard enunciated in Squire v. Capoeman, supra at 9, the courts have held income not derived directly from reservation lands to be taxable by the Federal Government. For example, in Fry v. United States, supra at 648, the court held that income received by a noncompetent Indian subcontractor of a non-Indian concern which had contracted to cut timber from a tribe's unallotted reservation land was taxable. Similarly, in Critzer v. United States, 220 Ct. Cl. 43, 597 F.2d 708 (1979), the Court of Claims held that income derived by an enrolled member of a tribe from the operation of a motel, restaurant, and gift shop located on tax-exempt tribal lands pursuant to a permit granted by the tribe did not meet the "directly-from-the-land" standard and was taxable. While these and other similar cases are based principally on the Squire v. Capoeman, supra, application of the General Allotment Act of 1887, they support the conclusion that taxing petitioner's smokeshop income does not violate any exemption which may arguably exist with respect to the use of reservation land and resources by virtue of the treaty provision stating that the reservation shall be set apart for the "exclusive use and benefit" of the tribe.
It may be true, as petitioner argues, that his smokeshop would not have existed during 1975 and 1976 but for its location on reservation land.
2. Per Diem Payments
We also think it clear that the per diem payments received by petitioner in 1976 for services performed as a member of the council are not exempt from Federal income taxation. So far as these payments are concerned, this case is not distinguishable in any material respect from either Commissioner v. Walker, 326 F.2d 261 (9th Cir. 1964), affg. in part and revg. in part 37 T.C. 962 (1962), or Jourdain v. Commissioner, 71 T.C. 980 (1979), affd. per curiam 617 F.2d 507 (8th Cir. 1980).
In both Walker and Jourdain, the question presented for
Petitioner argues that Jourdain and Walker are distinguishable and, in this connection, points to several provisions of the treaty which he believes do grant an exemption for the per diem payments. First, he focuses on the second paragraph of article V of the treaty
Petitioner contends that, when interpreted in light of the fact that "extra distributions" of tribal wealth to chiefs were contemplated by treaty negotiators, the language he relies
Petitioner also relies upon the "exclusive use and benefit" language in article II of the treaty, previously discussed in connection with the smokeshop income, in arguing that the per diem payments are tax exempt. His position is that, in order to have the exclusive use and benefit of the reservation, individual members of the tribe may not be subjected to taxation on any amounts having their origin in revenues derived by the tribe as a whole directly from reservation lands.
Finally, petitioner relies upon 25 U.S.C. sec. 407, which provides that proceeds from the sale of timber from unallotted (i.e., tribal) reservation lands "shall be used for the benefit of the Indians who are members of the tribe or tribes concerned" in such manner as the Secretary of the Interior (the Secretary) may direct. Petitioner points out that his per diem payments were made from tribal funds of which 83 percent were proceeds from sales of such timber. He further points out that the Secretary (through the Bureau of Indian Affairs) approved the budget resolution of the council, and thus, the per diem payments to petitioner, for 1976. In light of those facts, petitioner argues that the per diem payments should be held to be exempt from tax because an income tax "on tribal
The statutory provision relied upon by petitioner does not purport to deal with the question of taxation. Even if we assume that timber sales proceeds would be exempt from tax under 25 U.S.C. sec. 407 while held by the Secretary and upon initial distribution for the benefit of members of the tribe, we nonetheless think it clear that the per diem payments to petitioner are not exempt. Petitioner did not, as he suggests, receive a distribution of timber sale proceeds; such proceeds were distributed to the tribe, and petitioner was paid by it for services rendered. We do not think that any exemption which may apply to a distribution of timber sales proceeds can be viewed as applying to a subsequent recipient of payments for services rendered simply because he is a member of the tribe and a portion of such payments can be traced to the timber sales proceeds. See Fry v. United States, 557 F.2d 646, 648 (9th Cir. 1977); Commissioner v. Walker, 326 F.2d at 264; Paul v. Commissioner, 77 T.C. 755, 764-765 (1981), on appeal (9th Cir., Dec. 28, 1981); Jourdain v. Commissioner, 71 T.C. at 986. We hold that the per diem payments are includable in petitioner's taxable income.
To reflect the foregoing,
Decision will be entered for the respondent in docket No. 7095-79.
Decision will be entered for the petitioner in docket No. 7096-79.
Decision will be entered under Rule 155 in docket No. 7097-79.