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Indian Issues: Bia's Efforts to Impose Time Frames and Collect Better Data Should Improve the Processing of Land in Trust Applications

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In 1980, the Department of the Interior (Interior) established regulations to provide a uniform approach for taking land in trust. Trust status means the government holds title to the land in trust for tribes and individual Indians. Trust land is exempt from state and local taxes. The Secretary of the Interior has delegated primary responsibility for processing, reviewing, In 1980, the Department of the Interior (Interior) established regulations to provide a uniform approach for taking land in trust. Trust status means the government holds title to the land in trust for tribes and individual Indians. Trust land is exempt from state and local taxes. The Secretary of the Interior has delegated primary responsibility for processing, reviewing, and deciding on applications to take land in trust to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). As part of this process, BIA must seek comments from affected state and local governments. Congress directed GAO to study BIA's processing of land in trust applications to determine the extent to which (1) BIA followed its regulations, (2) applications were processed in a timely manner, and to (3) identify any concerns raised by state and local governments about land in trust applications. GAO is also providing information on problems with BIA's data on the processing of land in trust applications.


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In 1980, the Department of the Interior (Interior) established regulations to provide a uniform approach for taking land in trust. Trust status means the government holds title to the land in trust for tribes and individual Indians. Trust land is exempt from state and local taxes. The Secretary of the Interior has delegated primary responsibility for processing, reviewing, In 1980, the Department of the Interior (Interior) established regulations to provide a uniform approach for taking land in trust. Trust status means the government holds title to the land in trust for tribes and individual Indians. Trust land is exempt from state and local taxes. The Secretary of the Interior has delegated primary responsibility for processing, reviewing, and deciding on applications to take land in trust to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). As part of this process, BIA must seek comments from affected state and local governments. Congress directed GAO to study BIA's processing of land in trust applications to determine the extent to which (1) BIA followed its regulations, (2) applications were processed in a timely manner, and to (3) identify any concerns raised by state and local governments about land in trust applications. GAO is also providing information on problems with BIA's data on the processing of land in trust applications.

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