Happy spring! April is the time of year we start gearing up for the CIRI Information Meetings, to be held as follows: April 20 in Anchorage, Alaska; April 27 in Kenai, Alaska; and May 11 in Shoreline, Wash. The 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders will be held June 1 in Puyallup, Wash.
Attendees at this year’s meetings will be presented with information about the proposed CIRI Settlement Trust.
Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Amendments, an Alaska Native corporation (ANC) may establish a settlement trust to enhance the health, education and welfare of its beneficiaries and preserve the heritage and culture of Alaska Native people. In October 2018, the CIRI Board approved an action to place a resolution before shareholders to authorize the establishment of the CIRI Settlement Trust to fund benefits for CIRI shareholders, descendants and other Alaska Native individuals.
There are a variety of benefits to settlement trusts, but new tax advantages available to both shareholders and CIRI are the most significant:
- For CIRI: If benefits are paid through the CIRI Settlement Trust, the company will be taxed at very favorable rates, resulting in more corporate resources available to finance Settlement Trust benefits.
- For beneficiaries: Under present law, distributions by the CIRI Settlement Trust are not anticipated to be taxable to the beneficiaries and would not have to be reported on their individual tax returns. By contrast, current dividends and other distributions and benefits paid by CIRI are normally fully taxable to CIRI shareholders.
Shareholders of dozens of other ANCs have recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of establishing Settlement Trusts.
CIRI shareholders will vote on a resolution to authorize the establishment of the CIRI Settlement Trust in conjunction with the 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The CIRI Board of Directors is recommending that CIRI shareholders vote “yes” to approve the creation of the CIRI Settlement Trust. For the resolution to pass, a majority (more than 50%) of voting shares present or represented by proxy at the Annual Meeting must vote “yes.”
I invite you to find out more about the CIRI Settlement Trust by visiting www.ciri.com/settlement-trust. Settlement Trust proxy statements and voter’s guides were mailed in early April and eVoting is available through the website. Remember, those who cast their votes electronically by the proxy deadline are eligible to participate in three $1,000 eVote prize drawings!
I look forward to visiting with you at this year’s Information and Annual Meetings.