Mining taxes and fees frequently asked questions

What does self-assessment mean?

Self-assessment means you are responsible for determining, reporting and paying any taxes, royalties or fees you owe.

Self-assessment is a crucial factor in the tax system and penalties for not complying with the rules can be severe.

If you are unsure how or when to self-assess, contact us.

What is the difference between mineral tax and mineral land tax?

Most of the mineral rights in B.C. are owned by the Province and the Province leases the rights under legislation such as the Mineral Tenure Act and the Coal Act. However, prior to 1950, freehold mineral rights were sometimes granted by the Province and only a small percentage of land in B.C. still maintains freehold mineral rights.

Owners of freehold mineral rights are required to pay mineral land tax, and the tax must be paid whether or not minerals are being produced from the land.

Mineral tax is a resource tax paid by mine operators who have the rights to extract minerals from the land. The rights may be freehold or leased from the Province. Generally, mineral tax is only paid if a mine is producing.

If I pay mineral tax, do I have to pay mineral land tax, too?

You might. If you own land, and you also have freehold mineral rights for that land, you may pay mineral land tax. If you have a mine that is producing minerals on the same piece of land, you may also pay mineral tax.

What is the difference between forfeiture and surrender of mineral rights?

If mineral land tax goes unpaid for two consecutive years, the mineral rights become subject to forfeiture. If forfeiture occurs, the freehold mineral rights transfer back to the Province and the taxes owing are cancelled.

An owner of freehold mineral rights may choose to surrender to the Province all or part of an interest in mineral land at any time. However, surrender of mineral land is rare because most owners elect to allow forfeiture.

There is no cost for forfeiture, but the process can take up to three years. Surrender can happen immediately, but you may incur legal costs or may need to resolve mineral title issues.

See the Mineral Land Tax Act for more information.

You can email us if you would like to begin the process of surrendering your mineral rights.

Do you accept credit card payments?

No, the Ministry of Finance is unable to accept credit card payments. Learn about the methods for paying mineral tax, mineral land tax and mine inspection fees.

Can I make payment arrangements for overdue taxes?

Short term payment arrangements may be considered for a period of 6 months or less.

Payment proposals exceeding 6 months must be approved. You must provide financial information and the debt will be secured by registering a lien against your property.

Interest will continue to accrue on all unpaid balances.

Learn more about overdue taxes for your mineral tax or mineral land tax.

What happens when a mine is sold and there is a balance in the cumulative expenditure account?

When interest in a mine, along with equivalent assets used in the operation of the mine, are sold, the purchaser and seller may jointly elect to use the seller’s share of the cumulative expenditure account balance as the deemed sale price. See the Mineral Tax Disposition of a Mine Regulation for a complete explanation.

In order to take advantage of the tax-free rollover, the purchaser and seller must file a Joint Election of Disposition Proceeds (PDF) within 6 months of the mine’s fiscal year end. Notice MTA 3 (PDF) provides information about filing late, amended or revoked joint elections.

What happens when a mine stops operations and there is a balance in the cumulative expenditure account?

When a mine stops operations and there is a balance in the cumulative expenditure account, the balance may be used to offset future earnings once the mine starts operating again.