Myth: First Nations Don’t Pay Taxes

REALITY:  Indigenous Peoples living in Canada pay taxes in most circumstances

One of the most commonly held myths about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, is that they don’t have to pay taxes.

Unless a person is officially declared a “Status Indian”, and s/he earns all her/his money on reserve s/he has to pay taxes on it just like all other people living in Canada. For example, people involved in the fishing industry can only be exempt from paying taxes if they fish within their reserve waters. If a person’s business takes them off reserve, even though the business itself is located on reserve, in most cases they s/he has to pay tax on the off reserve earnings.

For Indigenous Peoples living within Canada who live off reserve, and work off reserve, and shop off reserve, they pay all of the taxes that every other person living in Canada pays.  No exemptions can be claimed on income, property, or most items purchased off reserve.

Posted July 2012


Revenue Canada’s tax information for “Status Indians” (this term is used by Revenue Canada because of its legal meaning in the Indian Act)

About Indian Status

About The Indian Act – from Elders’ Voices