At its meeting in September 2014, the FNTC amended its Standards for First Nation Property Assessment Laws and Standards for First Nation Tax Rates Laws to enable First Nations in Saskatchewan to establish an alternative mechanism to assess and tax properties in two agricultural classes: arable and non-arable.
The changes to the Standards were first proposed in October 2013 as a part of FNTC’s public input process which involved input from assessment services providers and First Nations.
First Nations in Saskatchewan can now opt to tax agricultural properties on the basis of area (i.e., per acre), instead of on the basis of assessed value. This method of property taxation involves a First Nation setting a tax rate per acre for agricultural classes in its Annual Rates Law, and then applying that rate against the number of acres leased/occupied. Under the changes, the First Nation’s rate would be reviewed against the level of taxation in the First Nation’s neighbouring jurisdiction. For example, if a First Nation’s neighbouring jurisdiction collected $200,000 from properties in an agricultural class and those properties totalled 100,000 acres, the tax rate a First Nation could apply would be up to $2.00/acre in that class.
To establish this form of property taxation, First Nations will need to have enabling provisions in their Property Assessment Law. To assist with this, FNTC has developed sample Property Assessment Law provisions for First Nations to consider and use. Interested First Nations are encouraged to contact the FNTC to learn more about establishing this form of property taxation.