Yakama gas tax exemption heading to U.S. Supreme Court

Yakama gas tax exemption heading to U.S. Supreme Court
Yakama Nation

The nation’s highest court has decided to consider whether Yakama tribal members are exempt from state gas taxes on the reservation.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported Thursday the case stems a state Department of Licensing lawsuit in 2013 against a gas station and convenience store called the Cougar Den.

The state alleged the store, owned by tribal member Kip Ramsey in White Swan, brought out-of-state fuel onto the reservation without paying the state’s fuel tax.

Yakima County Superior Court and the state Supreme Court ruled the Yakama Treaty of 1855 exempted tribal-owned gas stations on the reservation from the tax.

The licensing department appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As members of a sovereign nation, Yakama tribal members are exempt from state gas, tobacco and sales tax on the reservation. But state authorities complain that too often non-tribal members go to the reservation to buy goods and escape state taxes.