New York County Files Suit to Force Tax Collection from Indians

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New York County Files Suit to Force Tax Collection from Indians

05/19/2006
A county in central New York is suing the state tax department to force the agency to collect taxes on tobacco and other products sold by Indian businesses.

Officials in Seneca County say they filed the lawsuit Monday in state Supreme Court in Albany, according to an Associated Press report. The lawsuit also names the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York and five upstate cigarette wholesale distributors.

Seneca County -- home to a convenience store owned by the Cayugas -- is seeking enforcement of a law passed by state lawmakers last year requiring the state to collect sales tax on cigarettes and gas sold at Indian-owned stores. That law took effect March 1, but the state has taken no steps to enforce it.

Seneca County officials say that has cost the Finger Lakes county about $200,000 a year in lost revenues and forced several local gas stations out of business.

The Pataki administration has said the governor wouldn't enforce the tax collection law until he has had more time to settle Indian land claims.