Property Taxation


Most governments rely on taxes to generate the majority of their revenue to support programs and services. Property taxes are the main source of revenue for municipalities. However, from 1875 to 1988 federal legislation made it illegal for First Nations to collect property taxes. In fact, the laws excluded First Nation taxation but allowed municipalities and provincial governments to levy and collect property taxes from Reserves without supplying any services. This historical lack of financial resources has been a huge barrier to capital development on First Nations land. Consequently Sq’ewá:lxw and many other First Nations have so much ground to make up in bringing infrastructure, roads, sewer, water, recreation and other services up to standards enjoyed off-Reserve.

Sq’ewá:lxw has been administering property tax since 2005. This was originally done through a bylaw under the Indian Act.  There is now new federal legislation that allows First Nations to pass their own taxation laws under the guidance of the First Nation Tax Commission. Sq’ewá:lxw enacted their Property Assessment Law and Property Taxation Law in 2016.

The Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation Tax Centre issues the tax notices and collect the taxes from resident taxpayers.

For more information on Property Taxation contact:
Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation
Sharron Young
58611A Lougheed Hwy
Agassiz, BC V0M 1A2
P: 604-796-9129
Email –


The Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation has contracted Frampton Appraisals who uses the British Columbia Assessment Authority (BCAA) to assess properties on reserve. BCAA uses the guidelines as set out in the Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation Property Assessment Law. BCAA applies same valuation practices procedures as are applied off-reserve.

Properties are assessed at actual value as of July 1 of the year proceeding the year for which the assessment roll is completed. The value is determined considering the physical condition and permitted use of the property on October 31 and ownership as of December 31st.

When will I received my assessment notice?
Frampton Appraisals will mail your notice to you by January 31stof the assessment year.

Can I appeal my assessment?
Yes. You will find details on how to appeal your assessment on your assessment notice. Appeals must be received by Frampton Appraisals within 60 days of mailing as specified in the assessment notice. Remember, you can only appeal your property assessment, not your property taxes.


Who sets the tax rate?
Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation has jurisdiction under First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FNFMA) to levy taxes and therefore has the sole authority to set tax rates. However, Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation has historically adopted the Mill Rates set annually by the District of Kent.

When are my taxes due?
Your property tax payment is due on or before August 1st. The taxation period is from January to December.

Taxes can be paid in person at the Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation or by mail. We accept Cheque, Cash (exact change), Debit or Credit Cards.

Penalties and Interest
A 10% penalty will be charged on gross taxes outstanding at close of business on the due date in the year in which taxes are due. Delinquent tax will bear interest at 1.25% monthly.

What about Home Owner Grants?
Sq’ewá:lxw will begin using Home Owner Grants in 2019.  The guidelines for qualification are in accordance to the Provincial Home Owner Grant Program and will be outlined on your taxation notice.

Do I qualify for a Tax Deferral?
Unfortunately no. The Tax Deferral Program is a Provincial program that does not apply on Reserve. At this time there is no equivalent program offered by Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation.

My mortgage company pays my taxes. Can I still get the grant?
If your mortgage company pays your property taxes on your behalf you may still qualify for the grant. However, it is still your responsibility to:

  • Complete, sign and return the home owner grant application on your tax notice to the Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation Taxation office by the due date. Do not send your grant application to your mortgage company.
  • Make sure your mortgage company is paying the correct amount or property taxes minus your eligible home owner grant.

In order to avoid a duplicate payment or late payment penalty, confirm whom -you or your mortgage company – will be paying your taxes.

Please note: financial institutions cannot approve your home owner grant application.

What If I Move Onto The Reserve In The Middle Of A Tax Year?
Review your “Purchaser’s Statement of Adjustments” received from your lawyer at closing of Sale. Depending on the time of year your share of taxes will be allocated proportionately between Purchaser and Seller. Ultimately, the current owner is responsible to pay all taxes.

What If I Don’t Receive A Tax Notice?
It is the responsibility of all registered owners to pay taxes whether they receive a notice or not. Tax notices are sent out the first week of June. If a notice is not received, contact the Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation Taxation office for a copy of your notice.

Frequently Asked Questions

This information is intended to help residents of Sq’ewá:lxw 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 Sq’ewá:lxw 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 Sq’ewá:lxw’s work to become a member of the First Nation Finance Authority (FNFA). The FNFA is a group of First Nations that have passed rigorous criteria and demonstrated solid laws and governance structures. Once Sq’ewá:lxw 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 Sq’ewá:lxw power to ‘jack up’ property taxes?
Sq’ewá:lxw has had the authority to raise property taxes since 2005. However, Sq’ewá:lxw has historically and continues to be committed to keeping property taxes on par with the District of Kent’s taxes.

Furthermore, Sq’ewá:lxw is governed by the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FNFMA). The FNFMA 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 FNFMA and other relevant standards Sq’ewá:lxw is governed by-

Do the laws take away tax exemptions for Sq’ewá:lxw Members?
No. Sq’ewá:lxw 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.

Where can I get more information on property taxation?
Here are some people sites with further information.
First Nation Finance Authority –
First Nations Tax Commission–
First Nations Financial Management Board –
BC Assessment Authority –