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First Nations assessment and taxation of occupiers of real property on Reserve Lands

First Nations assessment and taxation of occupiers of real property on Reserve Lands

Federal legislation

The two types of Federal legislation providing for a First Nation to assess and tax occupiers of its reserves are:

  1. Section 83 of the Indian Act which allows First Nations to pass assessment and taxation bylaws to tax occupiers of real property on reserve lands. Such bylaws must be approved by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada;
  2. The First Nations Fiscal Management Act (“FMA”), which provides for First Nations to pass assessment and taxation laws to tax occupiers of real property on their reserve lands. The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) approves assessment and taxation laws under the FMA.

Depending on the legislation, the First Nation’s assessment rules will be established under bylaws (for the Indian Act) or laws (for the FMA). Please consult the First Nations Gazette for actual copies of First Nations assessment and taxation bylaws/laws. The website for the First Nations Gazette is: http://www.fng.ca/onlinegazette.htm.

Provincial legislation

The Indian Self Government Enabling Act (“ISGEA”) is Provincial legislation which provides First Nations with three options for entering the property tax field:

  1. Concurrent Taxation – allows First Nations and local governments to share taxation.
  2. Independent Taxation – allows provincial taxes to be completely removed if First Nations wish to implement their own property tax system. First Nations wishing to enter into independent taxation must pass property assessment and taxation bylaws. The federal First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) supports the band as it develops the bylaws and reviews them once they are completed. The FNTC may also intervene in disputes to try and facilitate an agreement. All Indian Act assessment and taxation bylaws must be approved by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, but FMA assessment and taxation laws need approval only of the FNTC.
  3. Indian District Taxation – allows First Nations to assume duties and functions similar to those of a municipality or other authority providing local services, once it has obtained the status of Indian District from the federal government.

First Nations in British Columbia have all adopted independent taxation as their model of taxation.

Updated 05/2014

Disclaimer: Where information presented is different from legislation, legislation shall prevail.