The Certificate in First Nation Tax Administration (CFNTA) and its students are at the forefront of property taxation on First Nation lands. Graduates of this innovative program are prepared to administer a high quality First Nation property taxation system. 

Tulo, along with the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) and Thompson Rivers University (TRU), have created a working relationship to develop an accredited certificate program in First Nation tax administration. 

The First Nation Tax Administration Certificate provides the knowledge and skills needed to design and operate a taxation system similar to other governments using the powers outlined in the First Nation Fiscal Management Act. It examines how First Nation government tax policies can be used to promote economic development and finance and build infrastructure. The program pays particular attention to communicating tax policies and laws to Chief and Council and taxpayers. 

The program will be of interest to people in First Nation taxation and development roles; those doing business with First Nations; and local, provincial or federal government employees involved with First Nation taxation systems.

My experience with Tulo has truly been an eye-opener as a young First Nations person. It is great to be a part of such vision and to participate in longer capacity-building and higher learning. The knowledge I have gained through Tulo will stay with me and guide me in my vision of creating success stories on First Nation lands where I come from.
— Tulo Graduate, Class of 2011

Upon Successful completion of this program, students are able to: 

  • Establish the legal framework required to support a First Nation taxation system.
  • Formulate the tax rates, user fees, development charges and business taxes used.
  • Manage assessment and appeal processes that are fair and transparent.
  • Prevent and resolve disputes with taxpayers and other governments.
  • Implement First Nation taxation administrative systems including specialized software applications.
  • Plan and finance long-term economic infrastructure projects.
  • Collaborate with local governments and private partners in the delivery of services and construction of infrastructure.

What is First Nation Tax Administration? 

First Nation property taxation is an optional legislative power that a First Nation may choose to exercise. Property tax is a tax on real property, consisting of land and the improvements on the land. On reserve, taxable properties include residential leases, buildings, commercial leases, farming permits, pipelines, transmission lines, production facilities, towers and railways. 

First Nation tax authorities levy and collect taxes in the same manner as other local governments throughout Canada. The First Nation Tax Administrator is the person responsible for the administration of property taxation, taxpayer relations, property tax collections, and the enforcement of payment under the law. 

Property taxation on First Nation lands is completed in annual cycles. While the timing of these cycles may vary slightly by province or territory, the main elements are consistent across Canada and include: 
1. Assessment on First Nation Lands
2. Setting the Budget and Tax Rate
3. Tax Collection and Enforcement
4. Ongoing Taxpayer Relations 

Learning Options 

These courses are offered as one-week intensive seminars and are led by an experienced Tulo Centre instructor at Thompson Rivers University's campus in Kamloops, B.C. Class sizes are small and students benefit greatly from extensive interaction with their instructor and other students who share the common goal of achieving greater financial independence for First Nations.  

Who Should Take This Program

This certificate comprises of eight courses which provide a general understanding of the issues in First Nation property tax administration and is intended for First Nation property tax administrators, persons working for First Nations in economic development and/or property taxation, persons with interest in the field, persons working for firms desiring to do business on First Nation lands and persons working for other governments with an interest or requirement to work with First Nation property tax systems. 

In addition, participants must be knowledgeable about the Internet, know how to use email and browse the web, and be conversant with computer technology in general. Program participants must also have fluency in the English language before entering the program. 

Benefits for the Student

As the only property tax administration program for First Nations, this certificate provides many personal benefits including: 

  • career advancement 
  • personal development 
  • flexible schedule and delivery 
  • ability to continue working while you earn your certificate 
  • small class sizes 
  • get to know other students and maintain important professional connections 
  • learn how to bring all of the components together to excel at property tax administration 
  • be great at your job 
  • contribute to the success of your community 

Benefits to the First Nation

As the only property tax administration program for First Nations, this certificate provides many community benefits including: 

  • trust that you have a sound property tax system 
  • maximize benefits from FMA legislation 
  • ability to make tax and public policy decisions that support economic development 
  • attain a competitive advantage and leadership position in the area of economic development 
  • develop methods to deliver quality information 
  • provide services and certainty to investors 
  • build competitive economic infrastructure 
  • establish an attractive investment climate on reserve 

Admission Requirements 

This program has no admission requirements. However, students are required to meet the prerequisite of the courses in the program. In order for students to be successful in the program the following are required to be completed in addition to the courses listed in the program: 

  • B or better in Principles of Math 11 or Applications of Math 12, or MATH 051, or equivalent;
  • 73% on the combined English 12 and Government exam (within the last five years), or Level 4 on the composition section of the LPI (within the last two years), or completion of ENGL 060, or completion of CESL 053, CESL 054 and CESL 057 with a grade of C+ or better. 
  • Basic computer literary with Microsoft office applications such as word and excel spreadsheets. Upgrading can be done by taking COMP 040 and COMP 050 or equivalents. These are highly recommended but not required.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to First Nation Taxation, APEC 1610 

Students are provided with an overview of First Nation taxation and how it can be used to improve the investment climate and support economic development on First Nation lands. The role of government in making markets work is explained, focusing primarily on First Nation local revenue authority using the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA). Topics include the role of government in facilitating investment; the concept of property taxation; First Nation property taxation; FMA and institutions; the First Nation Goods and Services Tax (FNGST).
3 credits. Prerequisite: None 

Establishing First Nation Tax Rates and Expenditures, APEC 1620 

Students learn how to set First Nation property tax rates through the preparation of a local services budget and how to communicate effectively with council and taxpayers during this process. Topics include setting tax rates and expenditure policy issues; preparation of local revenue budgets; preparation of annual tax rates and expenditure laws; understanding user fees and business occupancy taxes; and communication and notification requirements under the authority of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA) or s.83 of the Indian Act. 3 credits. Prerequisites: Introduction to First Nation Taxation.  

Assessment and Assessment Appeals, APEC 1630

Students examine property markets with a focus on property assessments and assessment appeals in Canada under the authority of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA) or s. 83 of the Indian Act. Topics include an introduction to valuing land, assessment theory and practice,
assessment law and practice, assessment appeals, and an assessment appeal role play. 3 credits. Prerequisites: Introduction to First Nation Taxation

Administration: Tax Notices, Collection & Enforcement, APEC 1640 

Students learn to manage a First Nation and/or local government tax administration system focusing on taxpayer notification and local revenue billing, collection and enforcement. Best practices from systems across Canada are presented along with the regulatory requirements associated with the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA). Significant time is devoted to using the First Nations Tax Commission’s (FNTC) specialized Tax Administration System (TAS) for local revenue administration. 3 credits. Prerequisites: Introduction to First Nation TaxationEstablishing First Nation Tax Rates and Expenditures

Communications, Taxpayer Relations and Dispute Resolution, APEC 1650  

Students examine how to establish a mutually beneficial working relationship between First Nation tax authorities and taxpayers. Topics include communications planning and products; reaching agreement through consensus; taxpayer representation structures and laws; local dispute resolution; and the formal dispute resolution process from the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA). 3 credits. Prerequisites: Introduction to First Nation Taxation, Establishing First Nation Tax Rates & Expenditures, Assessment and Assessment Appeals, Administration: Tax Notices, Collection & Enforcement.  

Service Agreements and Joint Contracts, APEC 1660 

Students examine how to develop service agreements and joint contracts for the delivery of services or the construction of infrastructure involving local governments and/or private partners. Topics include service agreements; contracting; service agreement calculations and negotiations; interest-based negotiations; service agreements for additions to reserves (ATR) and treaty land entitlement (TLE) settlements; and a service agreement case study. Students utilize tools developed by the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) to assist in service agreement negotiations. 3 credits. Prerequisites: Introduction to First Nation Taxation,  Establishing First Nation Tax Rates and Expenditures.  

Development Cost Charges, APEC 1670

Students learn to establish fair and transparent development cost charge (DCC) and service tax
(ST) systems for First Nations or local governments under the authority of the First Nations
Fiscal Management Act
(FMA) and the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC). These systems
are intended to support the financing of infrastructure and service improvements. Topics include
options for First Nation community financing infrastructure; developing First Nation DDC and
ST laws; implementing First Nation DCC and ST laws; and DCC and ST case studies. 3 credits. Prerequisites: Introduction to First Nation Taxation, Establishing First Nation Tax Rates and Expenditures

Capital Infrastructure and Debenture Financing, APEC 1680 

Students learn how to plan, cost, and finance local government infrastructure projects using longterm debentures in the First Nation Fiscal Management Act (FMA). They also examine the legal, planning and policy requirements established by the First Nation Finance Authority (FNFA), the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) and the First Nations Financial Management Board
(FMB) as well as best practices in economic, capital and financial planning. Topics include  economic infrastructure; economic strategy; integrated capital planning; capital financing and borrowing; borrowing laws and procedures; and a case study in infrastructure financing. 3 credits. Prerequisites: Introduction to First Nation Taxation, Establishing First Nation Tax Rates & Expenditures, Assessment and Assessment Appeals, Administration: Tax Notices, Collection & Enforcement, Communications, Taxpayer Relation and Dispute Resolution.