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.
In March 2017, the FNTC introduced Standards for First Nation Accommodation Operator Business Activity Tax Laws, 2017. These Standards govern laws established by First Nations concerning the business activity taxation of accommodation providers like hotels and motels operating on reserves. The FNTC estimates that there over 20 accommodation providing properties situated on the First Nation lands.
In December 2018, the FNTC approved proposed changes to the Standards to respond to specific provincial changes in British Columbia concerning the taxation of accommodation providing properties, and to increase First Nation flexibility in administering the tax.
The proposed amendments to the Standards include:
- reducing the number of consecutive days of occupation that qualifies as a taxable accommodation (i.e., from 28 to 27 consecutive days);
- enabling laws to create an optional exemption for operators with less than 4 units of accommodation (currently the Standards exclude these types of operators from the tax);
- enabling laws to set out minimum revenue thresholds for exemptions from the tax (currently the Standards set a minimum of $30/day or $210/week);
- enabling laws to set exemptions for accommodations not listed on an online accommodation platform; and
- enabling the laws to provide exemptions to “First Nation Entities” (this would expand tax exemptions to First Nation partnerships).
The FNTC is seeking public input in respect of these proposed amendments to the Standards. If you wish to learn more, please contact the FNTC at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1(855) 682-3682. Electronic versions of the proposed Standards are available by clicking the link below:
Please direct your written comments on or before February 8, 2019 to:
First Nations Tax Commission
321-345 Chief Alex Thomas Way
Telephone: (250) 828-9857
Fax: (250) 828-9858