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Miccosukee Tribe: Bingo with Taxes

The tax problems of the Miccosukee Tribe continue.

In January, I wrote about the tribe’s malpractice suit against its former attorney that claimed he had provided erroneous legal advice with respect to its ongoing IRS matter.

The Miami New Times is reporting two patrons of the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Indian casino have recently filed suit against the tribe for failure to remit to the IRS taxes withheld from their gambling winnings.

The patrons, John Ricone and Francys Tolon-Ricone, claim they won just under $5,500 from bingo play during two trips in 2008. The tribe withheld approximately $1,500 for federal income tax, and issued two W-2Gs reflecting such.

On their 2008 tax return, the Ricones reported the bingo income and the withheld funds. The IRS then sent a notice to the Ricones demanding payment of income tax on the bingo winnings because the funds withheld by the tribe were not remitted to the IRS.

Sure, it’s a relatively small amount at stake. And it’s possible the IRS issued the notice in error. But when approximately $26 million from over 100 members of the tribe is owed to the IRS for distributions received from the casino, there’s little to no benefit of the doubt.

The “we’re trying to show good faith towards addressing outstanding liabilities” statement to the IRS doesn’t sound too convincing as new tax issues arise, regardless of the amount.

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