Seneca business owner sues the state over taxes


SALAMANCA, NY – A Seneca business owner of a store in Salamanca that sells cigarettes filed a lawsuit against New York State claiming that he should not have to pay the state sales tax.

Attorney Paul Cambria is representing the owner of Native Outlet in Salamanca who recently filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Cambria states that the courts need to recognize the Seneca territory as sovereign nation. His client, Eric White wants to be free of New York State sales tax the state is trying to impose on cigarettes and other things.

Eric White is a Native American and an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians. His convenience store is on the territory.

Cambria said, “An Indian Reservation is not the state of New York, it’s a sovereign area separate from the state and the transaction is occurring completely on the reservation, so the state should have no contacts or abilities to tax that.”

Cambria said this case is different than others on this issue over the years because the case is focusing on state law instead of federal law.

Documents show that under New York State Indian Law: “No taxes shall be assessed for any purpose whatever, upon any Indian reservation in this state.”

Cambria said, “When something is occurring on the reservation only, than New York had no business taxing it. So we are expanding that to other goods and services that occur simply on the reservation, including cigarettes.”