People buying goods or services from Kahkewistahaw First Nation may have noticed a new tax on their purchases recently.

As of December 11, 2015, the First Nation started charging a 5% fee, the Kahkewistahaw Community Improvement Fee (KCIF), to everyone who buys taxable goods or services on Kahkewistahaw First Nation reserve lands. The KCIF replaces the GST on goods and services previously subjected to the GST.

The First Nation worked with the federal government on the agreement. It was finalized November 27, 2015.

“Our First Nation has worked on this initiative for a number of years,” said Kahkewistahaw Chief Louis Taypotat in a press release.

“It is our hope that the funds generated by our Community Improvement Fee will bring much-needed benefits for our community and our members,” said Chief Taypotat.

The chief added that band members voted on the initiative, and despite initial hesitation, they approved moving forward.

“The Council would never have moved forward with this initiative without our members’ support,” he said.

The KCIF has the same basic operating rules as the GST. It will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Some provincial and territorial governments will be exempt from paying the fee.

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