The costs for Osage Nation business license fees are now increased after the Eighth Osage Nation Congress passed a bill amending Osage law with the revised license fees.
During the 2023 Hun-Kah Session, the Congress voted 11-0 to pass ONCA 23-54 (sponsored by Congresswoman Jodie Revard) which amends the law “to increase the business license fees, change the license exemptions and to change the business license fee date of expiration.”
Revard called on Jennifer Oberly, director of the Nation’s Tax Commission, to speak on the proposed fee increases.
“Anybody that is doing business with the Osage Nation is required to obtain and continue to have a valid business license,” Oberly said. “Currently the cost of those licenses is laid out in law, so it’s $50 for non-Osage entities and $25 for Osage-owned entities, it is for a year and it is currently set to renew every December. That has been a little problematic as we have grown and our business license numbers have grown so extensive trying to get everybody renewed in the month of December. So, the previous director started doing a year-to-year (fee) based on the date of enrollment … So, we would like the code to match what was instituted in policy and practice on that.”
Oberly added the Tax Commission would also like to offer two-year business licenses as an option “and the reason for that is our casinos, which provide us probably 60-65% of our business licenses, our referrals from the casino, they operate on a two-year cycle. So, if we could get on the same schedule as them, it makes it a lot easier for all these entities doing business with us because they’re getting one reminder and renewing everything at the same time.”
As for business license fee increases, Oberly said: “we would like to raise ours up $50 for non-Osage businesses and charge the same amount (charged by Osage Casinos for respective fees). To us it kind of looks like it’s more advantageous for businesses to do business with our casino than it is with the government and we think we’re more important and we want to be just as much. So, we want to raise up to $100 for the yearly fee for the (non-Osage) business license and for the Osage-owned, we just wanted a $10 increase (to $35 per year due to) inflation, the cost of everything, the cost of doing business has skyrocketed.”
In response to committee questions, Oberly said there are approximately 3,000 business licenses on file with her office, but notes not all of them are active, nor expected to be renewed especially if those businesses were working on a contract basis or short-term projects. In the 2021 fiscal year, Oberly said her office brought in close to $37,000 in business license fee revenue and projects to receive an additional $24,000 in revenue with the increased fees.
According to the increased business fee schedule, the new costs are:
- Manufacturing/ processing – Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Mining – Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Service – Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Construction – Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Transportation – Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Communications – Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Utility – Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Real estate agencies: Osage-owned: $35/ Non-Osage owned: $100
- Peddler’s license (per day): $10
- Vendors: $100
- Any other type of business not listed above: $100
- Temporary (quarterly or three months): $30
The law also notes: “To qualify as an Osage-owned business and receive a reduced license fee rate, the prospective licensee must provide a copy of their Osage Nation Membership card or Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) to the Osage Nation Tax Commission at the time of initial application and renewal.”
The Congress passed ONCA 23-54 on April 18 with 11 “yes” votes and one absence from Congressman Joe Tillman. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed the bill into law.
For more information on business licenses, applications and other ON Tax Commission services, visit: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/services/tax-commission