Utah Canyon Country Business
Navajo Nation

A portion of the Navajo Nation lies across the southern portion of San Juan County between the San Juan River and the Arizona border. The Nation currently remains poor in average per capita income, but rich in human and natural resources. A growing emphasis on education and a blossoming development in tourism, natural, and other resources promises more economic opportunity and stability for the Dine people. The current Navajo Tribal Administration is moving toward local empowerment, and special emphasis is being given to the Utah Navajo Chapters. In his inaugural address, President Albert Hale said, "We must unite to stop the erosion of our sovereignty. And above all, we must unite to protect and preserve our language, our land, our water, and our culture, the essence of our existence."

Property on both the Navajo and the Ute Reservations is not available for purchase by non-Indian people either for residence or business. Anglo operated businesses are located on land leased from the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation has produced a number of pamphlets explaining the resources and potential of the Navajo Reservation to businesses.


Population on the Navajo Reservation is kept by Chapter rather than community. Each Chapter can contain more than a single community and all but one of the Chapters within Utah also cross state lines. Chapters that are partially in San Juan County reported a population of 6650 in 1994.

Tax Information

The Navajo Nation does not levy a franchise tax, an income tax, or an unemployment tax.

  • Oil and Gas Severance Tax - a 4% tax is levied on the value of mineral extracted from the Navajo Nation. Tax is to be paid monthly.
  • Possessory Interest Tax - a 3% tax is levied on the value of a natural resource leasehold. Taxation is on the property rights under a lease granted by the Navajo Nation, including the right to lease the surface and underlying natural resources. Tax is to be paid biannually.
  • Business Activity Tax - 5% of taxable gross receipts with the following deductions:
    • Salaries, wages, and other compensation paid to Navajos
    • The purchase of Navajo goods and services
    • The resale of goods not produced within the Navajo Nation
    • A standard deduction of $12,500 or 10% of gross receipts.
  • A company engaged in manufacturing activities may exclude from its gross receipts the cost or raw materials imported into the Navajo Nation to be used in the process of manufacturing Navajo goods. Tax is to be paid quarterly.
  • Construction Activity Tax - a 3% tax on the gross receipts of construction contract on the Navajo Nation. Tax is to be paid quarterly.
  • Hotel Occupancy Tax - 8% tax on the gross receipts of hotel room rentals. Tax is to be paid quarterly.
  • Fuel Tax - $.018 per gallon on both gasoline and diesel fuels.

For more detailed information, contact the Navajo Tax Commission at (520) 871-6681.