Property transfer tax exemptions for First Nations

Property transfer tax exemptions for First Nations apply to reserve, surrendered, or special reserve lands. These exemptions from taxation, by all levels of government, are on property that is considered reserve land or surrender lands, that have been set apart by the federal government and vested in the Crown for the use and benefit of an Indian Band.

Transfers of land to First Nations organizations, an Indian Band, an Indian Band corporation, or a Status Indian, when registered at the land title office, can be:

The application of property transfer tax is conditioned by several criteria, including:

  • The lands are Treaty Settlement Lands and there is a Taxation Agreement between the First Nation and the Province
  • The lands are transferred to an Indian Government District
  • The lands are on reserve, and title exists in the land title system
  • The lands are on reserve, but title does not exist in the land title system
  • The Status Indian or Indian Band lands are transferred from former Federal Crown lands
  • The lands are off reserve

For information on the application of the additional property transfer tax to properties located on First Nation treaty lands, see the Additional property transfer tax for foreign entities and taxable trustees page.

Note: The information on this page does not apply to transfers of land to and from the Nisga’a Nation.

Fully exempt transfers of lands

Title does not exist in the land title system

Transfers of lands on reserve to a Status Indian or an Indian Band, where title does not already exist in the land title system, are not a taxable transaction.

When registering title at the land title office, the transferee is not required to file a property transfer tax return and property transfer tax is not payable.

Transfers of Crown Land

Status Indian or an Indian Band lands transferred from former Federal Crown lands are not taxable transactions.

When registering title at the land title office, the transferee is not required to file a property transfer tax return and property transfer tax is not payable.

Transfers of lands pursuant to a Property Transfer Tax Regulation (e.g., OIC), to a First Nation or Indian Band, Indian Band member or corporations, are exempt from the property transfer tax when registered at the land title office as set out in the Regulation.

The transferees are not required to file a property transfer tax return when registering title at the land title office. A copy of the Regulation will have to be attached to the application for title registration so that the transferee is not required to file a property transfer tax return or pay the property transfer tax.

Refundable transfers of land on reserve

Transfers of lands on reserve to a Status Indian or an Indian Band, where title already exists in the land title system, are taxable transactions and property transfer tax is payable.

Apply for a refund

After the registration of title and the property transfer tax is paid, the transferee can apply for refund of tax paid. To apply for a refund, contact PTTENQ@gov.bc.ca.

Fully taxable transfers of land off reserve

Transfers of lands off reserve, when registered at the land title office, are taxable transactions to:

  • A Status Indian
  • An Indian Band
  • A corporation owned by a Status Indian or Indian Band.

The transferee is required to file a property transfer tax return and pay the property transfer tax.

When filing a property transfer tax return, the transferee can find out if any Property transfer tax exemption applies to the transfer.

Treaty First Nations full exemption

Treaty First Nations are exempt from property transfer tax when the First Nation has a Taxation Agreement with the Province, and the Taxation Agreement specifically provides that a person under the agreement is not subject to property transfer tax when registering title to treaty settlement lands.

Some Taxation Agreements include an effective date or a period by which or within which the transferee must register title to the lands in order to be exempt.

The exemption from property transfer tax applies when the transfers follow the conditions outlined in the final agreement and are registered on or after the effective date of the agreement, under the terms of the agreement.

To claim this exemption, select exemption 46Final/Tax Agreement, Treaty First Nations on the property transfer tax return.

Note: Any transfers that are registered outside the period set out in the final agreement or after the Taxation Agreement expiry date are a taxable transaction for which property transfer tax is payable.

Transfers to an Indian Government District full exemption

Currently the only Indian Government District in Canada is the Sechelt Indian Government District, in accordance with the federal Sechelt Indian Band Self-Government Act and provincial Sechelt Indian Government District Enabling Act.

Transfers of lands to the Sechelt Indian Government District are property transfer tax exempt as the Sechelt Indian Government District is incorporated as a municipality.

Transfer to a regional district, municipality, or other

To claim this exemption, select exemption 20  on the property transfer tax return.

How to file and pay

For information on how to file and pay property transfer tax, see File and pay property transfer tax.