This article analyzes the propriety of state taxation of tribal members’ out-of-state, off-reservation income through a critical examination of Fond du Lac Band of Lac Superior Band of Chippewa v. Frans, 649 F.3d 849 (8th Cir. 2011). The article argues that Judge Murphy’s dissent in the case provided the correct analysis—that state taxation of out-of-state, off-reservation tribal member income is improper when the tribal member resides on tribal land and the only nexus between the state and the taxed income is the tribal member’s state citizenship. The article explains that by granting citizenship to tribal members with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, Congress “decoupled” Indians’ citizenship from their subjection to taxation, such that a tribal member’s state citizenship is an insufficient basis for imposing taxation on the member’s out-of-state income. Finally, the article addresses the impacts that Fond du Lac will have on tribal affairs if the opinion is left uncorrected by future cases.



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