In June 2012, following a public input process, the Commission approved a series of changes to the Financial Administration By-law Policy, Business Licensing By-law Policy, and Standards for Service Tax Laws. Here is a brief summary of the changes:
Financial Administration By-law Policy
The Financial Administration By-law Policy sets out the requirements for First Nation financial administration by-laws enacted under s.83 of the Indian Act. The policy reflects best practices in financial administration and is an amalgamation of previous policies and practices governing the review of financial administration by-laws. These by-laws largely address fiscal governance, transparency, conflict of interest, and redress issues. Currently, 25 First Nations have Financial Management/Administration By-laws in place.
Business Licensing By-law Policy
Business licenses are permits issued by First Nation governments to allow companies or individuals to conduct business on the reserve. Business operators must pay an annual fee which is determined by the nature of the business. The business licensing system is established through a business licensing by-law. Currently 13 First Nations have business licensing by-laws. The FNTC Business Licensing By-law policy establishes several requirements including the appointment process for license inspector(s), and the processes for business licensing applications, issuance, appeals and other administrative functions.
Taxation for the Provision of Services Laws
FNTC amended the Standards for Taxation for the Provision of Services Law (or Service Tax Law) to accommodate First Nations who wish to develop annual service tax laws for costs associated with three specific service areas: water, sewer, and garbage/recycling collection.
The amendments include a requirement that annual service tax laws ensure that service tax amounts (including unpaid service taxes) are added to the First Nation’s tax roll. In situations where the First Nation does not have a property tax law, the Standards require that the law provide for the preparation of a service tax roll. A key provision in the Standards ensures that persons subject to the service tax law have a complaints process available to them if they object to an error/omission on the roll or if they believe that an exemption has been improperly allowed or disallowed.