This information is intended to help residents of Tzeachten First Nation reserve lands (understand how the First Nation property taxation system works. It is intended as a guide only and may change as amendments to the Laws are duly executed.
Why do we need property tax laws?
The laws are a transition from the Indian Act bylaws. They allow Tzeachten to more closely coordinate our taxation laws and collection dates with the ones used by the City. They also allow us to tailor the laws for our Reserve and our taxpayers and to create more flexible options for installment payments and to have better enforcement.
The new laws are also part of Tzeachten’s work to become a member of the First Nation Finance Authority. The FNFA is a group of First Nations that have passed rigorous criteria and demonstrated solid laws and governance structures. Once Tzeachten has all of our laws and policies in place and becomes a member of FNFA we will be eligible for low interest loans to carry out major projects to improve the Reserve such as sewer, water, road, sidewalk, recreation and building projects.
Do the new laws give Tzeachten power to 'jack up' property taxes?
Tzeachten has had the authority to raise property taxes since 1995. However, Tzeachten has historically and continues to be committed to keeping property taxes on par with the City of Chilliwack’s taxes.
Furthermore, Tzeachten is governed by the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (FSMA). The FSMA mandates the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) to develop standards for our local revenue laws and practices. These standards regulate property taxation practices on Reserve and sets out Tax Rate Law restrictions specifically with respect to rate setting and rate increases. In accordance with the standards, the average tax bill cannot increase by more than the national rate of inflation from the previous year.
The following is a link to FNTCs website where you can find the FSMA and other relevant standards Tzeachten is governed by- www.fntc.ca/index.php/en/taxing-under-the-fsma/fntc-standards
Will the new laws take away tax exemptions for Tzeachten Members?
No. Tzeachten members remain tax exempt.
Why Do I Pay Tax On Land I Don't Own?
Taxation applies to ownership & occupation – so all users occupying the land are subject to property taxes.