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American Indian Sales of Motor Fuel:
Assessment of Reporting and Policy Recommendations

Appendix B

Discussion Guide

Assessment of Native American Sales of Motor Fuel Issues

Research Overview: In support of a study for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), we are conducting research into the reporting of motor fuel sales by Native American tribes. FHWA is interested in learning about situations where reporting is successful and unsuccessful, and the circumstances that have encouraged or discouraged such reporting. In connection with the reporting of fuel sales, we are also interested in whether fuel tax agreements exist and recommendations on how these can be tailored for success in other communities. The findings of this research are intended to be used by FHWA to improve the attribution and apportionment process.

We are using a discussion guide to ensure that topics are covered in a consistent way. The guide is structured to support open-ended answers and to encourage discussion on the topic of Native American fuel sales. We thank you in advance for your participation in the study and appreciate your input.

  1. Cases where Native American fuel sales are being reported

    Please discuss the following:

    • An overview of current tribal fuel sales, including the extent of sales and types of establishments engaged in sales.
    • The current arrangement for reporting fuel sales, including methods for reporting and key participants (for example, state tax commission, tribal planning or data reporting unit, tribal council or state DOT)
    • The nature and extent of reporting:
      • What is reported (volume in gallons? Costs? Daily, weekly, monthly?)
      • Does reporting cover on- and off-reservation fuel sales?
      • Are all tribal retail facilities and activities (such as fuel sales to tribal government) included?
    • When was the reporting arrangement agreed and between which entities?
    • What are the circumstances and methods that encouraged the development of the arrangement?
    • At what point is motor fuel taxed (for example, 'at the rack')?
    • Is there a tax agreement that ensures tribal fuel sales are not subject to tax? If so,
      • Please give an overview of the agreement.
      • Are deductions, credits or refunds through the tax agreement dedicated to specific programs and activities?
      • What are the circumstances and methods that encouraged the development of the tax agreement?
    • Is there a price differential between on and off reservation prices? Does the tribe itself levy a tax on fuel sales?
    • Has there been litigation on the issue of reporting and/or excise tax issues?
    • Are the reporting arrangements and/or tax agreements successful?
      1. What are the benefits associated with 1) reporting and 2) having tax agreements in place? Have general tribal-state relations improved as a result of 1) and/or 2) being in place?
      2. What are the limitations? How can these be improved upon?
    • Please provide recommendations on how reporting arrangements and tax agreements can be tailored for success in other communities.
    • Please let us know if there is anyone else we should consider contacting for participation in the study (for example, other government entities, tribal entities, or multi-state/tribal groups).
  2. Cases where Native American fuel sales are not being reported, including those where parties have been unable to reach agreements

    Please discuss the following:

    • An overview of current tribal fuel sales, including the volume of sales and types of establishments engaged in sales are data are available.
    • Have there been any attempts to implement reporting of fuel sales? Why do you think these attempts were unsuccessful?
    • At what point is motor fuel taxed (for example, 'at the rack')?
    • Is there a mechanism in place to ensure that tribal fuel sales are not subject to tax?
    • Is there a price differential between on and off reservation prices? Does the tribe itself levy a tax on fuel sales?
    • Has there been litigation on the issue of reporting and/or excise tax issues?
    • In your view, what might be the benefits associated with 1) reporting and 2) having tax agreements in place? Would progress on 1) and 2) improve general tribal-state relations?
    • What do you perceive as negative impacts associated with 1) fuel sales reporting and 2) fuel tax agreements?
    • What are the circumstances and methods that would encourage reporting?
    • Please let us know if there is anyone else we should consider contacting for participation in the study (for example, other government entities, tribal entities, or multi-state/tribal groups).
  3. Cases where state and tribal entities are developing agreements for the reporting of Native American fuel sales

    Please discuss the following:

    • An overview of current tribal fuel sales, including the extent of sales and types of establishments engaged in sales if data are available.
    • Have there been any attempts to implement reporting of fuel sales in the past? Why do you think these attempts were unsuccessful?
    • At what point is motor fuel taxed (for example, 'at the rack')?
    • Is there a mechanism in place to ensure that tribal fuel sales are not subject to tax?
    • Is there a price differential between on and off reservation prices? Does the tribe itself levy a tax on fuel sales?
    • Has there been litigation on the issue of reporting and/or excise tax issues?
    • Describe the current efforts being undertaken to develop agreements for the reporting of fuel sales. Are associated tax agreements also being considered?
    • What are the circumstances and methods that have encouraged parties to move forward with developing agreements?
    • In your view, what might be the benefits associated with 1) fuel sales reporting and 2) having fuel tax agreements in place? Would progress on 1) and 2) improve general tribal-state relations?
    • Do you know of other successful models of reporting and/or tax agreements that would be useful for us to review?
    • What do you perceive as negative impacts associated with 1) reporting and 2) tax agreements?
    • Please let us know if there is anyone else we should consider contacting for participation in the study (for example, other government entities, tribal entities, or multi-state/tribal groups).

 

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