McGirt v. Oklahoma: Impacts on Tribal Taxation

In McGirt v. Oklahoma, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Congress never disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation. Although McGirt was specific to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has now applied the ruling to recognize that Congress likewise never disestablished the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole reservations. Under federal law, these reservations—encompassing the majority of Eastern Oklahoma—are “Indian Country.” Even though most of this land is privately owned by non-Indians, this designation carries a host of tax implications. As discussed below, the greatest impacts will be on tribal members and state and local tax revenues, with non-members largely unaffected by the expanded understanding of Indian Country. More.