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Faculty Publications

American Indian Law

1998

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American Indian Law Meets The Internal Revenue Code: Warbus V. Commissioner, Erik M. Jensen Jan 1998

American Indian Law Meets The Internal Revenue Code: Warbus V. Commissioner, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This article examines a 1998 Tax Court decision, Warbus v. Commissioner, that has implications for both American Indian law and federal tax law. Section 7873 of the Internal Revenue Code exempts from taxation amounts derived by American Indian tribal members from fishing-rights related activit[ies] of their tribes. Taxpayer Warbus claimed that discharge of indebtedness income from the foreclosure of his fishing boat qualified for the exclusion; the Tax Court said no. The author argues that Warbus was wrongly decided for two reasons: the court failed to take account of basic principles of American Indian law, and the court misapplied ...