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NYS can tax Native American tobacco sales to non-Indians, court rules

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The State Court of Appeals on Thursday unanimously ruled that New York can tax tobacco sales by Native American retailers to non-Indians.

It is an issue that has been debated for more than a quarter-century. Reservation-based retailers were required to pre-pay the tax to their wholesalers.

However, a member of the Seneca Nation filed suit, arguing any attempt to tax tobacco sales violates federal treaties. The state's highest court ruled it is not a direct tax on retailers or Seneca members and is not a treaty violation.

Seneca Nation President Todd Gates told WBFO he is meeting with counsel Friday morning and leaders have a regular meeting Saturday. He expects to discuss their formal response then.

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