First Nations Tax Commission – Commission de la fiscalitè des premières nations
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Proposal: First Nation Resource Development Tax Jurisdiction

The First Nation/Resource Project Dilemma Forecasters are projecting as much as $650 billion in resource project investment in Canada over the next ten years. Canada needs this investment because provincial governments will otherwise be overwhelmed trying to meet the health […]

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Welcome to the newly designed FNTC website!

The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) has taken care to update and improve the information on this site, and will continue to work to update the site to keep you informed about the FNTC services and First Nations who are […]

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14 More First Nations Added to the FMA Schedule

Fourteen more First Nations have been added to the Schedule of the FMA through an amendment to the Act. There are now 138 FMA First Nations in Canada. The Canada Gazette Part II – Order Amending the Schedule to the First […]

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Presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples

Chief Commissioner’s presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples On September 30th 2014, Chief Commissioner Jules appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples as it continued its hearings on Bill C-428, “An Act to Amend the […]

Founder's statue in downtown Saskatoon commemorating Chief Whitecap as one of the founding fathers of the city of Saskatoon.

Whitecap Dakota First Nation: Building an economy through jurisdiction

Whitecap Dakota is a progressive First Nation with a proud culture, a strong sense of community and a passion for creating business relationships that support the community’s economic vision. With a traditional territory that extends from Saskatchewan to Manitoba, south […]

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Tsilhqot’in Decision: Opportunities to expand jurisdiction

This past June, for the first time in Canadian history, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) granted a declaration of Aboriginal title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation. After the decision was announced, Mandell Pinder LLP published a comprehensive case summary highlighting […]

mannyThe First Nations Tax Commission is a shared-governance First Nation public institution whose primary responsibilities include ensuring the First Nation property tax system is administratively efficient, harmonized, improves economic growth, and is responsive to on-reserve taxpayers. FNTC supports First Nation taxation under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and under section 83 of the Indian Act. There are over 150 First Nations with property tax powers who are responding to community needs and providing local services to thousands of property taxpayers. On this website you can learn more about the Commission, download useful reference material, subscribe to our newsletter, learn about new regulatory changes and initiatives, and seek technical assistance in developing First Nation property taxation. We encourage you to explore the website and learn more about how First Nation property taxation is transforming First Nation economies.

Thanks again for visiting.

C.T. (Manny) Jules, Chief Commissioner, FNTC

Property Tax Overview

As one of the oldest forms of taxation, property tax is a major source of revenue for local and provincial governments. In Canada, nearly $40 billion is raised annually. Currently, there are 125 First Nations exercising property tax powers. First Nation property tax revenues range from a few thousand dollars a year to millions of dollars a year. In total, First Nations are raising $70 million annually. Revenue generated by property tax is used for the provision of local services for a public purpose. These services include fire protection, police protection, water, sewer, roads, governance, and other community services.
Property tax is a tax on real property, and should not be confused with other forms of taxation such as GST and income taxes. Real property consists of land and the improvements on the land (i.e., buildings, towers, pipelines, etc.). On reserve, taxable properties include residential leases, buildings, commercial leases, farming permits, pipelines, transmission lines, production facilities, towers, and railways. Property owned by the federal government and federal crown corporations is immune from property taxation but the government pays a grant in lieu of taxation to the First Nation. Owners or occupiers of the real property are the taxpayers. The amount they owe is determined by the value of their property, the classification of the property, applicable exemptions, and the rate of tax set by the First Nation.

Property tax requires legal authority. The source of First Nation authority is either a First Nation by-law enacted under section 83 of the Indian Act, or a First Nation law enacted under the First Nations Fiscal  Management Act (FMA). The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) reviews and recommends by-laws for the approval of the Minister of Indian Affairs, and reviews and approves laws made under the FMA.

The First Nation Property Taxation Law/By-law establishes which real properties situated on reserve are taxable. Taxable properties are assessed by a First Nation-appointed assessor who determines the market value of each property. Once values are established for all taxable properties, the assessor prepares an assessment roll and sends an assessment notice to the owners or occupiers of the properties. The assessment can be appealed to a First Nation-appointed Assessment Review Board (ARB). Decisions of the ARB can be further appealed to a court of competent jurisdiction. Assessment and assessment appeals are conducted in accordance with the First Nation Property Assessment Law/By-law.

After the assessment process is completed, First Nations prepare their property tax budget, annual rates law/by-law, and annual expenditure law/by-law. The budget must be balanced and contain only eligible expenditures. The rates law/by-law establishes the rate of tax that will be applied to each class of property. The annual expenditure law/by-law contains the budget and sets out how the First Nation intends to spend the property tax it will collect. After the annual laws/by-laws are approved by the FNTC, the First Nation can send out tax notices to all of its taxpayers and begin to collect.

First Nations can establish property tax under section 83 of the Indian Act or the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA). Section 83 is an older provision that contains basic property tax tools. The FMA, which was enacted in 2005, provides additional tax powers and access to debenture financing
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The First Nations Gazette provides public notice of First Nation laws, by-laws, land codes, and other First Nation legislation and serves as the authoritative reference for First Nation law in Canada.

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