Proposed Standards Establishing Criteria for the Approval of First Nation Borrowing Laws, 2016
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 Proposed Standards Establishing Criteria for the Approval of First Nation Borrowing Laws, 2016 include the following changes:
Public Input Requirements under Section 8
The current Standards require First Nations to give notice of borrowing laws and invites written representations to be made to Council. Any person can make a written representation regarding a proposed borrowing law. If written representations are received by Council, the current Standards under section 8.5(b) require that the First Nation invite those who made written representations, to make a written representation to the Commission. However, section 8.6 of the Standards limits the written representations that the Commission can consider, to those written representations made by First Nation members and those who have interests in the reserve lands. This prevents the Commission from considering written representations from any other persons. The recommended change will address this inconsistency, and ensure the Commission can consider all written representations it receives following a First Nation invitation under section 8.5(b).
Section 9 Submission Requirements Exemption
Borrowing laws submitted to the Commission must be accompanied with additional information outlined in section 9 of the Standards. In instances where a First Nation is making a minor amendment to its borrowing law, the Commission does not currently have a provision exempting First Nations from the section 9 requirements. An exemption provision for minor amendments is reflected in section 8.8 of Standards concerning notification, and is also reflected in subsection 8(2) of the Act. The proposed change under section 9.2 would provide the Commission with the ability to exempt a First Nation from the section 9 submission requirements if the amendment is not significant.
Other minor amendments include adding greater clarity to section 8.8 on the Commission’s ability to exempt First Nations from any or all of the public input requirements in section 8. Changes to sections 7.5 and 7.6 reflect changes in the annual rate of inflation since the Standards were last approved.
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 button below:
Please direct your written comments on or before February 9, 2018 to:
First Nations Tax Commission
321-345 Chief Alex Thomas Way
Kamloops BC V2H 1H1
Telephone: (250) 828-9857
Fax: (250) 828-9858