A judge has ruled that members of a South Florida Indian tribe must pay federal income taxes in a decision that could cost other tribe members millions of dollars.
The recent decision by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga involved the 600-member Miccosukee Tribe, which has a reservation in the Everglades and a gambling casino west of Miami. Ruling in the case of tribe member Sally Jim, Altonaga found that distribution of casino profits was not exempt from U.S. income taxes.
The decision orders Jim to pay more than $278,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties to the Internal Revenue Service. Court records show the ruling means other tribe members could owe back taxes on gambling profits, which average between $120,000 and $160,000 annually for each member.