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Concurrent taxation under the Indian Self Government Enabling Act

The Indian Self Government Enabling Act assists First Nations in the implementation of concurrent real property taxation on reserve lands by providing for the continuation of provincial taxation of non-member occupiers at rates that are reduced, where applicable, to accommodate the First Nation taxes. It requires the First Nation and provincial government (or municipality, if the reserve land is within the boundaries of a municipality) to have a contract for the First Nation to provide services that are to be paid for through the First Nation taxes.

How to give notice

To start the process of implementing concurrent taxation under the Indian Self Government Enabling Act, the First Nation delivers a notice to the B.C. Minister of Finance that the First Nation:

  • intends to enact a taxation law that applies in respect of the reserve lands described in the notice, and
  • wishes to participate with the provincial government, or a municipality, in the implementation of concurrent real property taxation under both the First Nation's taxation law and provincial law.

The notice should be addressed to:

Honourable Mike de Jong
Minister of Finance
PO Box 9446 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria BC V8W 9V6

On receipt of the notice, the minister will:

  • acknowledge receipt of the notice and ensure the start of the appropriate contract negotiations between the provincial government and the First Nation,
  • if the reserve lands are located within the boundaries of a municipality, deliver a copy of the notice to the municipality and request it to start the appropriate contract negotiations with the First Nation, and
  • deliver a copy of the notice to the BC Assessment Authority.

Commencement of concurrent taxation

The concurrent taxation of non-member occupiers commences under the Indian Self Government Enabling Act once the contract for the First Nation to provide services has been finalized, the provincial government regulation or municipal by-law providing for the reduced tax rate is effective, and the First Nation's taxation law has been approved by the First Nations Tax Commission or federal minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs.

The commencement date will depend on when the contact for services is made, as follows:

  • If the contract is made before March 1 of a calendar year, the provincial government regulation or municipal by-law may be made to apply starting with that calendar year or with the next calendar year.
  • If the contract is made on or after March 1 of a calendar year, the provincial government regulation or municipal by-law may be made to apply starting with the next calendar year.

Timing is important

It can be a lengthy process for a First Nation to get the required approvals for implementation of concurrent taxation on reserve lands and to negotiate a contract to provide services. If the First Nation notifies the minister that it intends to enact a taxation law imposing taxes starting with the next calendar year, the advance notice will help ensure a smooth transition to concurrent taxation by the province and First Nation.

In comparison, a number of issues may arise when notice is given by a First Nation that it intends to enact a taxation law imposing taxes starting with the current calendar year, including:

  • The BC Assessment Authority will have already completed the current calendar year's provincial and municipal assessment rolls as of the previous December 31 and it has no authority to create a new assessment roll for the current calendar year specifically for the First Nation's use. For that first year, the First Nation will have to rely on the information contained in the existing assessment roll unless it uses a different assessor.
  • It is possible all the required approvals will not be in place by the time the provincial government or municipality is required to send out its property taxation notices for the year. If that is the case, the taxation notices sent to the non-member occupiers of the reserve lands will not show the reduced provincial taxes that are supposed to result from concurrent taxation.

Contact us

The Ministry of Finance Property Taxation Branch is responsible for administering receipt of the notice. Please contact the branch if you have any questions.

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