Indigenous Peoples

Before you start

We recognize that many First Nations people in Canada prefer not to be referred to as Indians. However, for purposes of the tax-exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act, the CRA uses the term Indian because it has legal meaning in the Indian Act. Individuals who are Indians, as defined in the Indian Act, are often referred to as Status Indians.

Generally, a Status Indian is subject to the same tax rules as other Canadian residents unless the income is eligible for the tax-exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act. This section exempts from taxation the personal property of an Indian situated on a reserve.

If the status individual’s income is exempt from tax, they do not have to include that income on their income tax and benefit return. However, any other income must be declared.

For example, Old Age Security (OAS) pension payments do not qualify for the exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act. They are not related to any previous employment and are not considered to have any connection to a reserve. The payments are therefore considered to be off‑reserve. The fact that you live on a reserve is not significant enough to connect the income to a reserve. Therefore, normal rules apply to these payments.


As a CVITP volunteer, you are not required to determine an individual's status.

For more information related to this topic, go to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).

To apply for Indian status and a status card, refer individuals to the Indian status web page. 

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