October 23, 2016
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Seneca Nation Sues To Block NY Cig Tax


CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, N.Y.-- The Seneca Nation of Indians sought federal court protection from New York State's plans to begin taxing sales of tobacco on the Nation's sovereign lands.

In papers filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of New York this afternoon, the Nation is asking the Court to issue an order restraining the State's taxing scheme which is scheduled to go into effect on Sept 1.

"We had hoped to come to an understanding where the parties would have an orderly and agreed upon processing of the merits of our claims.  Unfortunately, the Nation now finds itself in the position of needing emergency relief from the federal courts to keep the State from implementing this illegal tax scheme," President Snyder said. 

In a lawsuit filed August 17 in federal court in Buffalo, the Nation challenged as substantively infirm (1) the amendments to New York State Tax Law sections 471 and 471-e that were enacted on June 21, 2010; and (2) the emergency regulations promulgated by the Department of Taxation and Finance in an effort to implement those statutory provisions. 

The complaint charges the new legislative and regulatory provisions violate well-established federal law in several fundamental respects.

In addition to the federal court action, on August 18, the Nation filed a motion to intervene in a pending State Supreme Court case "Day Wholesale et al v. State of New York," a matter that dates back to 2006. The sole purpose of the Nation's anticipated filing in the Day Wholesale case is challenging the procedure by which the new "emergency" regulations under the State Administrative Procedure Act were issued.


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