At the Annual Meeting of shareholders on June 1, 2019, shareholders overwhelmingly approved the formation of the CIRI Settlement Trust.
Thanks to provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Alaska Native corporations may now establish settlement trusts to enhance the health, education and welfare of their beneficiaries and preserve the heritage and culture of Alaska Native people. A settlement trust can provide a broad range of benefits to its beneficiaries, including shareholder distributions. Other benefits may include, but would not be limited to, burial assistance, training and internships, cultural programs and other activities.
CIRI Settlement Trust Benefits
The CIRI Settlement Trust provides mutual benefit to both shareholders and the corporation, including allowing both shareholders and the corporation to take advantage of significant tax savings:
- Benefit to all shareholders: Distributions from the Trust to shareholders are expected to be tax free.
- Benefit to original Elders: CIRI Elders’ Settlement Trust funding will run out in 2019. The CIRI Board of Directors has approved providing the necessary funding to cover any shortfall through the end of the year, thereby ensuring that all eligible Elders’ receive full payments in 2019. The Board proposes to provide Elders’ benefits after 2019 through the CIRI Settlement Trust, maintaining the current level of payments and current eligibility requirements of the CIRI Elders’ Settlement Trust: original CIRI shareholders who are 65 years of age or older, own at least one share of CIRI stock and are alive on the distribution date of record would be eligible to receive $450 quarterly Elders’ payments, assuming adequate Settlement Trust funding.
- Other tax benefits: Significantly reduces the company’s current and future federal income tax liability. This means the company will have more money to fund benefits for shareholders and descendants and to reinvest and continue to grow the company.