This web page is intended to help YOU as occupiers of the East Saanich Indian Reserve #2 lands. The information provided here will give you an understanding of how the First Nations property taxation system works. There are many similarities with the Provincial property taxation systems, which you are probably familiar with if you have resided within local municipalities. Basically, it is business as usual.
Indian taxation is but one of many progressive steps toward native economic self-sufficiency and self-government. This will benefit all Canadians. By working together, enhanced levels of service at fair costs can be achieved.
Bands have been able to tax since the turn of the century – so, Native taxation is not new. With the passing of Bill C-115 in 1988, the Federal government granted to First Nations the new powers to levy property taxes on their 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 Bands enacted their own taxation bylaws. Since 1994, Tsawout has implemented our own Taxation and Assessment bylaws.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who administers the system?
Tsawout First Nation is a Native Aboriginal Organization that was established to provide a wide range of services to its member residents and to act as a political vehicle for the people of their First Nation. Tsawout First Nation is administering this new property taxation system as required in the bylaws.
2. As an Occupier of these reserve Lands, will my Services Change?
No, the Band Government offices are working to ensure that all existing services are provided. As a responsible government, the Band will continue to provide local government services to all of their residents either Native or Non-Native.
3.How Do I Know That My tax Dollars are put to good use?
All tax revenue is to be deposited into a trust account and may only be spent according to an expenditure by-law which is approved by the Indian Taxation Advisory Board and signed by the Minister responsible for Indian and Northern Affairs Development Canada on a yearly basis.
4. How are my rights Safeguarded?
The Tsawout First Nation has undertaken the task of ensuring that a fair taxation system is established. Band Governments readily acknowledge the need to safeguard and serve all residents equally.
The following measures are part of the Indian Taxation process to ensure all fairness:
Direction is made by Chief & Council of the Band - prior to any Property Taxation & Assessment laws, they are forwarded to Tax Authorities of BC Region and Ottawa for Ministerial approval.
All laws are reviewed and approved by the First Nations Tax Commission (previously known as Indian Taxation Advisory Board (ITAB)). The laws are then approved by the commission and then forwarded to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Development for signature.
The Band has also adopted the same assessment system as used elsewhere in the Province of BC. All residents may appeal their assessments, directly to the BC Assessment Authority Offices.
The Property Assessment System
5. How Will My Manufactured Home & Property Be Assessed?
Within our Boundaries the property assessments is based on a very similar process as off-reserve occupiers. The Tsawout First Nation currently renews the contract with the BC Assessment Authority to assess your Properties on a three year basis.
6. When Will I Receive my Assessment Notice?
BC Assessment Authority is responsible for the scheduled events concerning the assessment notices. Our schedule indicates that assessment notices should be received by each Owner/occupier no later than January 1st of each year. If you do not receive an assessment notice, you must contact the BC Assessment Authority of Victoria by telephone (250)479-7131.
7. Can I appeal the property assessment?
Yes, you can appeal your property assessment and directing the appeal to the BC assessment authority, as they are responsible for the actual values. The Tsawout First Nation has adopted the following procedures of the appeal process. 1-Court of Revision; 2-Appeal Review Committee; 3-Federal Court of Canada
The Property Tax Process
8. Who sets the tax Rates?
The Tsawout First Nation has been given the authority to set their own tax rates through their rates and expenditures by-laws. The process for these annual laws are forwarded to FNTC First Nations Tax Commission of Ottawa and to the Minister of Indian and Northern affairs development of Canada for final approval. These rates are kept fairly with the neighboring municipality.
9. What about Home Owner Grants, can I (we) claim one?
Home owner grants are made available to those who qualify. Requirements are made as if you are an off-reserve resident in the Province of British Columbia. You must meet the requirements listed on the reverse side of the Property tax notices every year. More information at the Tsawout First Nation administration office.
Important Points to Remember
Your taxes are due within the months of June & July each taxing year. If you have not received your assessment by mid-January each year, please contact the Assessment Authority NOT Tsawout First Nation
- Remit your taxes to the Administration office of the Tsawout First Nation.
- You are required to inform the Tsawout First Nation of any occupier and/or ownership address changes.
- It is the individual home owners responsibility, if you do not receive a Property tax notice by Mid-June each year, you are required to contact the administration office of the Tsawout First Nation.
- You can only appeal your assessment, not your property taxes. Any property assessment appeals must be filed to the BC assessment office by January 31st annually
IF YOU NEED FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Property Taxation Administrator, Tsawout First Nation.