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Property Taxation Q&A
Why administer real property taxes?

Property taxes are used for the benefit of the community. Property tax revenue is used to finance many local programs and services such as water and sewer services, garabage collection, road and light improvements, cultural facilities, administration, etc.

How do I know my tax dollars are put to good use?

Property Taxation Expenditure Laws which are approved and signed by the First Nation Tax Commission (FNTC) under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA) Federal legislation, govern how tax dollars are spent. The laws are published on the First Nation Gazette website at www.fng.ca .

Why do I pay tax on land I don't own?

As per the tax laws, non-Skowkale band members are holders/occupiers of the registered or non-registered leased land and taxable once you become a holder/occupier of the land. Assessment values are placed on both the land and improvements to ensure fairness when taxes are levied to support local services.

Where can I find a copy of the property tax laws?

The Skowkale First Nation Property Taxation Law, 2012, Skowkale First Nation Property Assessment Law, 2012and the Annual Rates & Expenditure Laws are published and can be reviewed on the First Nations Gazette at www.fng.ca.

Who assesses my property?

Skowkale First Nation contracts the British Columbia Assessment Authority (BCAA) to assess properties on band land. BCAA uses the guidelines as set out in the Skowkale First Nation Property Assessment Law. BCAA applies the same valuation practices and procedures as are applied off-reserve. Properties are assessed at actual value as of July 1 of the year during which the assessment roll is completed. The value is determined considering the physical condition and permitted use of the property on October 31 (December 31 for manufactured homes).

When will I receive my Assessment Notice?

BCAA isses the Assessment Notices on or before December 31.

Can I appeal my assessment?

Yes. You will find details on how to appeal your assessment on the back of your assessment notice. Appeals must be submitted to BCAA by January 31st of the current taxation year.

Who sets the tax rate?

Skowkale First Nation has jurisdiction under FSMA to levy taxes and therefore has the sole authority to set tax rates. However, Skowkale First Nation has historically adopted the Mill Rates set annually by the City of Chilliwack.

When are my taxes due?

The final payment deadline is July 2nd of each calendar year. If the payment deadline falls on a weekend, the payment deadline is extended to the next business day. The taxation period is from January to December.

Where do I pay my property taxes?

Property tax payments can be mailed or submitted in person to the Skowkale Property Tax Office located at Bldg #10, 3rd floor, 7201 Vedder Rd, Chilliwack, BC V2R 4G5. We accept cheque, case or debit. We also do pre-authorized payments which can be set up by calling our office at 604-824-5117 or emailing us at afc@shaw.ca.

What about home owner grants?

The guidelines for qualification are in accordance to the Provincial Home Owner Grant Program and are outlined on the reverse of your tax notice. Please ensure your completed and signed home owner grant application is submitted along with your payment to the property taxation office by the due date on your current year tax notice. Coming soon you will be able to apply online for your homeowner grant.

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 Skowkale 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 located on your property tax notice to the Skowkale First Nation Property Tax 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.

Once the mortgage company has paid your taxes, we will submit a receipt to the homeowner.

Please Note: Financial Institutions cannot approve your home owner grant application.

When is the penalty and interest applied?

A 10% penalty will be applied on outstanding tax accounts at the closing of business day on the final payment deadline of July 2nd of each calendar year. On July 31st of each calendar year, interest begins to accrue at a rate of 15% per year as set out in the Skowkale Property Taxation Law.

What if I move onto the reserve in the middle of a tax year?

Review the "Purchaser's Statement of Adjustments" received from your lawyer at the closing of Sale. Depending on the time of year, your share of taxes will be allocated proportionately between the Purchaser and Seller. Ultimately, the current owner is responsible to pay all the taxes to the band.

What if I don't receive a Tax Notice?

New property owners are responsible for payment of their annual property taxes by the due date to avoid the penalty whether or not they receive a Property Tax Notice. Property owners who have not yet received their tax notice within the first week of June, or for any property tax questions, please contact the Property Tax Office at 604-824-5117 or email afc@shaw.ca to obtain a copy of your notice.