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Daily Tax Report: State

Multimillion Dollar Fuel Tax Dispute Focuses on Tribal Treaty (1)

Oct. 30, 2018, 3:59 PMUpdated: Oct. 30, 2018, 9:13 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court weighed how broadly to read a 19th century treaty that a tribe claims exempts it from a state fuel tax, questioning attorneys on both sides about potential wider tax implications.

Cougar Den, a Yakama-owned business, argued the tribe is exempt from a tax on fuel entering Washington because of the Yakama Treaty of 1855, which includes a provision guaranteeing the tribe’s right to travel on highways. Washington, which assessed Cougar Den millions in taxes and penalties over fuel imported from Oregon, contends the treaty provides for no such exemption.

Several justices, most notably Justice...

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