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Tax and Revenue Administration
Alberta Tobacco Tax Act
Information Circular  TTA-1R

Last Updated: February 9, 2017
Produced by: Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Tax and Revenue Administration
For more information: tra.revenue@gov.ab.ca

TTA-1R4 / October 2009


The Tobacco Tax Amendment Regulation (December 15, 2011) implements changes to Alberta's tobacco marking requirements. They come into effect April 1, 2012. For more information, see Special Notice Vol. 3 No. 14, Changes to Tobacco Marking Requirements. Tobacco tax publications are in the process of being updated to reflect the new stamping regime.

NOTE: This information circular is intended to explain legislation and provide specific information. Every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate. However, if a discrepancy should occur in interpretation between this information circular and governing legislation, the legislation takes precedence.

The Government of Alberta recognizes that many First Nations people and communities in the province prefer not to describe themselves as Indians/Indian bands. These terms have been used where necessary to reflect their legal meaning in the federal Indian Act.

This information circular provides an overview of Alberta's tobacco tax. The topics discussed include:

Alberta's Tobacco Marking Program

  1. Each package, carton and case of cigarettes, tobacco sticks or fine cut tobacco for tax-paid sale in Alberta must have the Alberta tobacco mark.

  2. Pipe tobacco, cigars and raw leaf tobacco intended for sale in Alberta are not marked.

  3. Alberta tobacco markings:

    • Packages are marked with red cellophane tear-tape with the words “CANADA DUTY PAID·DROIT ACQUITTÉ·ALBERTA” printed in black.  Packages of fine cut tobacco and imported cigarettes or tobacco sticks may be marked with a red stamp on which the words “DUTY PAID – ALBERTA” are printed in black.

    • Cartons are marked with a stamp applied to, or imprinted on, each end-sticker that seals the end flaps of the carton.  The stamp has a red background in a black rectangle and the word “ALBERTA” printed in black.

    • Cases are marked on two opposite sides with the word “ALBERTA” printed in black.

  4. Tobacco intended for sale in other provinces is marked with those provinces’ unique provincial markings and cannot be sold in Alberta.

  5. “Black stock” tobacco is cigarettes, tobacco sticks and fine cut tobacco marked as required by federal legislation to show duty has been paid. It is not marked for retail sale in a particular province.  In Alberta limited amounts of black stock are sold by registered exempt-sale retailers or duty-free shops to those who are eligible to buy tax-exempt products.  Refer to the Alberta Indian Tax Exemption circulars for more information.

  6. In Alberta tobacco must be marked only by a person or entity holding a marking permit issued by Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA).  The marking permit specifies the tobacco to be marked and location at which the marking is to be done.  A marking permit holder may buy tear-tape only from a tear-tape manufacturer licensed by TRA.  Anyone wanting to mark tobacco for sale in Alberta must apply to TRA for a permit.

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Movement of Tobacco in Alberta

  1. Licensed wholesalers and licensed importers supply tobacco to Alberta as the first step in the distribution chain. Anyone wanting to become a licensed wholesaler or licensed importer must complete and submit form AT347, Tobacco Licence Application to TRA.

  2. Licensed wholesalers and licensed importers are permitted to handle only cigarettes, tobacco sticks and fine cut tobacco marked for tax-paid sale in Alberta, and tobacco that does not require marking, as listed in paragraph 2. Licensed wholesalers who would like to distribute tobacco outside Alberta or provide black stock to exempt-sale retailers are required to obtain written authorization from TRA to buy, possess, store and sell black stock or tobacco products marked for sale in other jurisdictions.

  3. Alberta tobacco retailers are required to buy their tobacco from licensed wholesalers or licensed importers. Normally, retailers are allowed to stock only cigarettes, tobacco sticks, and fine cut tobacco marked for tax-paid sale in Alberta or tobacco that is not required to be marked. However, a retailer may purchase and possess black stock if registered with TRA as an exempt sale retailer or a duty-free shop.

Paying Tobacco Tax

  1. Consumers buying tobacco in Alberta are required to pay tobacco tax at the time of purchase. Consumers who receive tobacco from outside Alberta or bring tobacco into Alberta from another province or territory, or outside Canada, are required to pay tobacco tax in Alberta. Refer to Information Circular TTA-7, Consumers Paying Alberta Tobacco Tax, for more information.


  1. TRA administers the Tobacco Tax Act (the Act), including assessing and collecting tobacco tax and conducting audits under the Act. Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission staff conducts investigations under the Act.

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