Court: State can’t tax tribal lands that change hands

Judge's gavel
File photo

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal appeals court says the state can’t impose property taxes on tribal lands that have changed hands without congressional approval.

The decision Monday from a three-judge panel from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals marks another chapter in a lawsuit four Chippewa tribes from northern Wisconsin filed in 2018.

The tribes — Lac Courte Oreilles, the Lac du Flambeau, the Red Cliff and the Bad River — sued after the state imposed property taxes on land within their reservations.

Such lands are immune from state property taxes absent congressional approval but the state argued that tribal members had sold the lands to non-Indians before the lands were sold back to the tribes, making them eligible for taxes.