Tsawwassen First Nation Tax Treatment Agreement

Taxation is an important element of Tsawwassen`s final agreement, as it can contribute to the basis on which future revenue capacity can be built for Tsawwassen`s government. The main tax elements referred to in the agreement are: the tax powers of the Tsawwassen Government, the tax treatment of members and the tax treatment of the Tsawwassen Government and the various assets transferred or recognised under the contract. The Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement (the Treaty) is a tripartite agreement between Canada, British Columbia and the Tsawwassen First Nation. This is a comprehensive agreement that provides for the transfer of land and self-government justice to the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN). This is a major change in the relationship between Tsawwassen First Nation, Canada and British Columbia and various other tools that enable Tsawwassen First Nation to succeed as a self-managed First Nation. The contract entered into force on 3 April 2009. Tsawwassen First Nation was the first in B.C to be awarded a contract through the BC contract process. TFN received a series of financial comparisons on the day of its entry into force, including a capital transfer, an implementation fund and several other specific funds and payments. TFN will also receive current tax transfers from the federal and provincial governments for the operation of programs and services, although this funding is subject to a revenue agreement from its own source. TFN retains direct fiscal powers with respect to property tax. Exemptions from property tax and income tax for members expire twelve years after the date of entry into force and, for turnover tax, eight years after the date of entry into force. However, the ability to negotiate tax-sharing agreements with the federal and provincial governments will ensure that TFN will benefit greatly from all of these tax sources.

Tsawwassen`s latest financial plan calls for us to generate nearly $33 million in revenue per year in 10 years, mainly from taxes and rental income. We will also have higher costs, because we will have many more people on our land. With these revenues, we intend to make more programs and services directly available to the Tsawwassen community. Under a non-contractual agreement with British Columbia, the Tsawwassen Government will collect all property taxes applicable to both Tsawwassen members and non-members residing in Tsawwassen Territory. This Agreement applies to all Tsawwassen countries, but not to countries identified as other Tsawwassen countries. The Tsawwassen government will be responsible for providing local services to all residents of Tsawwassen Lands. Canada has already negotiated such agreements with other First Nations in Canada. Under these agreements, Canada has freed up some of its tax space – that is, agreed not to collect a portion of its taxes – to allow the First Nation to collect sales or income taxes, which are fully harmonized with the taxes released by Canada. These agreements coordinate taxes and ensure that the tax burden on taxpayers remains the same, both on and off contracted residential areas. 3 The agreement is a focal treaty and claims agreement within the meaning of sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act 1982. The treaty gives us the right to harvest wildlife, migratory birds and food plants for social and ceremonial purposes on our traditional territory, including national and provincial parks. In addition, we own all the underground resources like gravel, sand, minerals and oil under the soil of TFN.

The tax treatment of the Tsawwassen government is mainly covered by an agreement outside the agreement, called a tax treatment agreement. For example, the tax treatment agreement: our people have occupied our country for thousands of years.