In April 2012, the First Nations Tax Commission announced two important modifications to the Rates Law Standards governing First Nation Annual Rates Laws.
Designed to reflect current practice and promote transparency for taxpayers, the changes enable “reference jurisdiction rate setting” and introduce for the first time, a requirement for tax rate notification.
“Reference jurisdiction rate setting” refers to the practice of First Nations pegging their tax rates identically to the tax rates of a non-First Nation jurisdiction adjacent to their reserve boundaries.
Nearly 50 percent of taxing First Nations follow this practice each year.
Tax rate notification builds on the current practice of some First Nations, and requires taxing First Nations to give notice of their rates prior to submitting them to the FNTC for approval.
First Nations have the option of giving notice of the rates before or after Council enacts the annual rates law, as well as the option of using their website, the First Nations Gazette website, taxpayer representation to council law, or a meeting, to provide notification.
Both changes follow a six month public input process involving First Nations and their taxpayers.