"Dual Taxation" in Indian Country happens when a state assesses taxes on private, non-tribal activities or transactions on tribal land in addition to taxes assessed by a tribe. Some analysts suggest that dual (or double) taxation puts tribal governments and citizens at a disadvantage, but the situation may be more nuanced. While dual taxation has been analyzed in depth from a legal perspective, this paper analyzes its economic consequences. With taxation, the stakes can be high. State tax revenues generated on tribal lands are revenues that tribes forgo collecting, limiting the tribal resources available for economic development and social programs. Indian Country is largely rural, and the lack of population centers and infrastructure makes economic development challenging. Many tribal areas have high levels of unemployment and a high percentage of populations with incomes below the poverty level. Thus, any loss of potential tribal revenue can exacerbate existing challenges. This paper sketches the evolution of dual taxation in case law, discusses the economic implications of those decisions and suggests a systematic way to undertake a balancing analysis.



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