Tax Commission

In accordance with the Cahuilla Tax Ordinance, the Cahuilla Tax Commission shall generally be charged with the administration and enforcement of all Tribal tax laws and regulations. The Commission shall prescribe, promulgate and enforce written rules and regulations not inconsistent with Cahuilla Tax Ordinance to prove for its internal operations procedures, to interpret or apply Tribal tax laws as may be necessary to ascertain or compute the tax owed by any taxpayer, for the filing of any reports or returns required by and Tribal tax laws, as shall be reasonably necessary for the efficient performance its duties, or may be required or permitted by law.


Angela Bogner


Stefanie Frost


Specific functions of a tax commission for a tribe may include:

  1. Unless otherwise set by the General Council, set tax rates within the limits imposed by Tax Ordinance;
  2. Issue licenses for sales of taxable items on the Reservation;
  3. Assess and collect taxes due and issue receipts for such taxes as are imposed by Commission regulation or ordinance or resolution of the General Council;
  4. Prohibit the sale of unstamped cigarettes regulated by the Tribe under the Tax Ordinance;
  5. Prohibit the sale of Tribal Tobacco Products to minors;
  6. Encourage Tribal Members and others within the Reservation to cease smoking or other non-ceremonial use of tobacco; and
  7. Bring actions on behalf of the Tribe in any court of competent jurisdiction, including Cahuilla Tribal Court if the Tribe has established a Tribal Court, any consortium court to which the Tribe is a member, or any court having jurisdiction, for the collection of tribal taxes, penalties and interest, and the enforcement of the Tribal Tax Laws, all such actions to be styled: The Cahuilla Band of Indians ex rel. Cahuilla Tribal Tax Commission vs. _________.
  8. Require as a condition of obtaining a license, that any license shall agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the court designated by the Tax Commission for any of the aforementioned enforcement actions.
  9. Administer oaths, conduct hearings and by subpoena compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of any books, records, and papers of any taxpayer relating to the enforcement of the Tribal tax laws or regulations.
  10. Make or cause to be made by its Commissioners, agents or employees an examination or investigation of the place of business, equipment, facilities, tangible personal property and the books, records, vouchers, accounts, documents and financial statements of any taxpayer, upon reasonable notice during normal business hours, at any other time agreed to by said taxpayer or at any time pursuant to a deficiency notice issued by a quorum of the Commission.
  11. Examine under oath either orally or in writing any taxpayer or any agent, officer or employee of any taxpayer or any other witness in respect to any matter relative to the Tribal tax laws and regulations.
  12. Exercise all other authority delegated or conferred upon it by law or as may be reasonably necessary in the administration or enforcement of any Tribal tax laws or regulations. The Commission and the Tribe are not subject to State sales or excise taxes for sales to tribal members, and will not collect any stamp fees, licensing fees, excise tax, or other taxes on behalf of the State unless specifically authorized by its General Council.
  13. Either before or after the commencement of an action for the recovery of taxes, penalties and interest due to the Tribe, but prior to final judgment thereon, compromise and settle such claims for an amount less than the total amount due, provided that such compromise and settlement shall be approved by the Commission only when, in its judgment such action is in the best interest of the Tribe and provided further that no settlement shall be made unless the delinquent taxpayer pays the principal amount of taxes due to the Tribe.
  14. The Tax Commission shall operate pursuant to a budget approved by the General Council, using funds appropriated for that purpose. To the maximum extent possible, the Tax Commission's operations shall be funded from tax revenues assessed and collected pursuant to this Tax Ordinance.
  15. The Tax Commission may hire such staff, including clerical, accounting and enforcement staff, and hearings officers as it may deem necessary, subject to availability of funds, and subject to the Tribe's personnel pay scales, policies, and procedures; provided, that neither the General Council nor the Tribal Council shall have any authority to hire, fire, direct, promote or discipline the Tax Commission's staff.
  16. Such other functions as the General Council may delegate to the Commission from time to time.
  17. Maintain and preserve complete, accurate and detailed records of all tax revenues received and distributed.
  18. The General Council retains the authority to suspend the charging of, or the imposition of, a tax on a particular product(s), after the recommendation of the Tax Commission.

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