Property Taxation

First Nation Property Taxation

Shuswap Indian Band Lands

This general information is intended to help residents of Shuswap Indian Band reserve lands (Shuswap Indian Reserve #0) understand how the First Nation property taxation system works. This information is intended as a guide only and may change as amendments to the Laws are duly executed. The Shuswap Indian Band Property Taxation Law and the Shuswap Indian Band Property Assessment Law are available for review at the Shuswap Indian Band taxation office.

What is First Nations Taxation?

First Nations taxation is one of many progressive steps to Shuswap Indian Band Self-Government. This benefits all Canadians. Working together, enhanced levels of services at fair costs can be achieved.

First Nations have been able to tax since the turn of the century – so first Nations Taxation is not new. With the passing of Bill C-115 in 1988, the Federal Government granted to First Nations new powers to levy property taxes on reserve lands.

In response to this important legislation, the BC Provincial Government passed Bill 64 – The Indian Self-Government Enabling Act. Essentially, the Province agreed to vacate the field of property taxation if First Nations enacted their own taxation Laws.

Who is Administering the System?

There are approximately 63 First Nations in British Columbia administering their own property tax system. Shuswap Indian Band was granted real property taxation jurisdiction in March 1991. In 1992 Shuswap Indian Band taxation began the taxation process, making Shuswap Indian Band one of the forerunners in First Nation tax administration prior to 1991; taxes were collected directly by the Provincial Government.

Previously Shuswap Indian Band was administering the property tax through Indian Taxation Advisory Board (ITAB) under section 83 of the Indian Act. The Shuswap Indian Band would set its own rates through its annual Rates by law, which was reviewed by the Indian Taxation Advisory Board (ITAB) and signed by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

In 2008 Shuswap Indian Band had signed a BCR to move into the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act. The First Nations Fiscal and Statistical management Act (FSMA) is First Nation led legislation which came into force April 1, 2006. The FSMA created four institutions: First Nations Tax Commission, First Nations Finance Authority, First Nations Financial Management Board and First Nations Statistical Institute.

The impetus behind the creation of this legislation was to create a regulatory framework for First Nation Property Tax Regimes to access debenture financing for infrastructure, using property tax revenue to service the loans. This has never been available to us before.  Borrowing First Nations will pass Financial Administration Laws to be certified by the First Nations Financial Management Board.

The FSMA is available to all First Nations, including those First Nations who are currently exercising their property tax jurisdiction under s. 83 of the Indian Act.  First Nations can choose to exercise their property tax jurisdiction under the FSMA, using Laws instead of s. 83 bylaws, and leaving behind this section of the Indian Act. Property taxation laws will be approved by the First Nations Tax Commission, rather than the Minister of Indian Affairs.

During the fall of 2008 there were 45 First Nations administering their property tax regime under the FSMA.

Why Administer Real Property Taxes?

Property taxes are used for the benefit of the community. They provide the services and infrastructure imperative to a healthy community such as: hospital, water, sewer, and recreation, just to name a few.  Because the Shuswap Indian Band now has regulation over the expenditures of the collected tax dollars, the needs of the community can be more efficiently appraised and met.

The Assessment Process

The Shuswap Indian Band has contracted with the British Columbia Assessment Authority (BCAA) to assess real property. BCAA uses the guidelines set out in the Shuswap Indian Band Property Assessment Law.

Properties are assessed at actual value as of July 1 of the year during which the assessment roll is completed. The value is determined, considering the physical condition and permitted use of the property, on October 31 (December 31 for manufactured homes).

Who Sets the Tax Rates?

Today, under the new FSMA Laws, Shuswap Indian Band sets its own rates through its annual Rates Law, which is reviewed by the First Nations Tax Commission (FSMA) and is signed and approved by the FSMA registrar.

Shuswap Indian Band Contact:

Katherine Stevens
Surveyor of Taxes
RR #2-3A-492 Arrow Rd.
Invermere, B.C.      V0A 1K2
Phone: (250)-341-3678 ext # 1003
Fax: (250)-341-3683

Clarissa Stevens
Taxation Assistant
RR #2-3A-492 Arrow Rd.
Invermere, B.C.      V0A 1K2
Phone: (250)-341-3678 ext # 1005
Fax: (250)-341-3683