Proposed Standards for First Nation Taxpayer Representation to Council Laws, 2018
Standards established by the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) reflect best practices in property taxation, and are designed to support First Nation economic growth, First Nation jurisdiction, property tax harmonization, and the interests of all stakeholders in the First Nation property tax system.
Under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA or the “Act”), the FNTC reviews and approves laws. Section 35(1)(a) of the Act gives the FNTC the authority to establish standards, not inconsistent with the regulations, respecting the form and content of local revenue laws. The standards established by the FNTC are additional requirements and, together with the Act and its associated regulations, form the regulatory framework governing First Nation taxation under the Act.
As a matter of policy, the FNTC seeks public input prior to introducing or significantly amending its standards. This input is critical in developing standards that are acceptable and effective for participating First Nations and their taxpayers.
The Standards for First Nation Taxpayer Representation to Council Laws set out the minimum requirements that must be met for First Nation laws respecting the procedures by which the interests of taxpayers may be represented to Council, enacted under paragraph 5(1)(c) of the FMA.
In February 2010, the FNTC introduced the Standards for First Nation Taxpayer Representation to Council Laws. The Taxpayer Representation to Council (TRC) laws are optional First Nation local revenue laws that help improve First Nation – taxpayer relations by establishing procedures so that taxpayers and First Nation Councils can communicate more effectively. In addition, these laws provide dispute resolution procedures in order to resolve taxation disputes more efficiently.
In June 2018, the First Nations Tax Commission approved proposed changes to repeal and replace the existing TRC Standards with new Standards that would contain new and revised provisions. The changes bring the Standards up to date with changes to the FMA, and recent changes to the Commission’s other Standards. A revision to paragraph 4.2(b) removes the reference to arbitration as one of the options for dispute resolution. The use of arbitration for First Nation-taxpayer disputes could lead to potential unlawful delegations of Council’s law-making powers or the fettering of Council’s discretion by enabling an arbitrator to direct the content of First Nation laws.
The FNTC Standards for these laws set out minimum requirements. These include:
- – Notice of Annual Tax Rates Law and Expenditure Law – The law must provide for a five day notice of the proposed annual tax rates law and proposed annual expenditure law in each tax year.
- – Access to Documents – The law must provide for access to specific tax-related documents: annual audit, resolutions, and service agreements. The law must describe the types of information that are excluded from being accessed by taxpayers under the law.
- – On-Going Communication – The law must describe the methods that will be used to ensure there is on-going communication with taxpayers.
- – Dispute Resolution – The law must provide for local dispute resolution procedures for taxpayers and First Nation representatives.
The FNTC is seeking public input in respect of these proposed Standards. For more information, please contact the FNTC at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (250) 828-9857.
An electronic version of the proposed Standards is available by clicking the link below:
Please direct your written comments on or before October 7, 2018 to:
First Nations Tax Commission
321-345 Chief Alex Thomas Way
Kamloops BC V2H 1H1
Telephone: (250) 828-9857
Fax: (250) 828-9858