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Tax and Revenue Administration
Alberta Tobacco Tax Act
Information Circular  TTA-3R

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

TTA-3R3 / September 2006

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 outlines the procedures for purchase of tobacco in Alberta exempt of tax. The following topics are covered:


Tax Exempt Purchasers

  1. The following persons are eligible to purchase tobacco in Alberta exempt of Alberta tax:

    • an Indian or Indian band if:
      • the Indian or Indian band presents a valid identification card to the exempt sale retailer at the time of purchase;
      • the tobacco being purchased is for the personal use of the Indian, or use of a band member; and
      • the sale is made on a reserve by an exempt sale retailer;

    • a representative of the federal Government, upon producing a certificate confirming the purchase is for the use of the federal Government (see paragraphs 2 and 3 for further information);

    • a member of the Diplomatic Corps eligible for inclusion in the Diplomatic Consular and Other Representatives in Canada listing and armed forces of other countries stationed in Canada. The tobacco must be for the member's own use or for other's use at the member's expense; and

    • a person about to leave Canada and the purchase is made at a duty free shop.

  2. A purchaser of tobacco claiming exemption from tax as a part of the Government of Canada must supply an exemption certificate. The tobacco wholesaler should obtain a certificate in the following form:
  3. This is to certify that the tobacco ordered/purchased hereby is being purchased by:

    Name of Department, Agency or Corporation

The certification should appear on the purchase order, contract or invoice relating to the tobacco purchased. Any tobacco sold to a government entity without an exemption certificate will be deemed to be taxable.

  1. The Government of Canada's exemption from tobacco tax applies to all departments of that government and to certain of its agencies and crown corporations. The exemption applies only when the government itself directly pays for the tobacco. There is no exemption on tobacco sales to government employees.

  2. Black stock and tobacco not marked (such as snuff or cigars) are the only products that can be sold tax-exempt by exempt sale retailers and duty-free stores. Black stock is cigarettes, tobacco sticks and fine cut tobacco marked as required by the federal legislation or regulation, but not marked for sale in a province. It is illegal for exempt sale retailers and duty free stores to sell black stock to anyone not entitled to purchase it exempt of tax. For more information on the sale of black stock by exempt sale retailers refer to the AITE Information Circular series.

  3. For both marked and unmarked tobacco, the Act prohibits a consumer from possessing without a permit:
  • more than 1000 cigarettes,
  • more than 1000 tobacco sticks,
  • more than 1000 grams of fine cut tobacco,
  • cigars containing more than 1000 grams of tobacco, or
  • any combination of tobacco containing more than 1000 grams of tobacco.

A permit is:

  • a voucher issued to an eligible purchaser by an exempt sale retailer or a receipt issued by a duty-free shop showing the purchase of black stock or tobacco not required to be marked in Alberta, or
  • a permit issued by Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA), upon application from a consumer, allowing the consumer to possess Alberta-marked cigarettes, tobacco sticks, fine-cut tobacco or tobacco not required to be marked in Alberta.

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Exempt Sale Retailers and Duty-free Shops

  1. An exempt sale retailer is a retailer registered with TRA to sell tobacco to consumers who are exempt from tax under the Tobacco Tax Act or under federal legislation.

Tax-exempt sales may be made by an exempt sale retailer or a duty-free shop to those persons eligible to purchase tobacco exempt of tax on their providing the information required.

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Retailer Refund Process

  1. All retailers, including duty-free shops, purchase tobacco (except black stock) at a price that includes the Alberta tax. Exempt sale retailers may obtain a refund of the tobacco tax on the product that is sold without tax to eligible tax-exempt purchasers. Details of the procedures that must be followed for sales under the AITE program are provided in the AITE Information Circular series.

  2. A retailer must be registered as an exempt sale retailer in Alberta to receive a refund of the tax not charged to a consumer on tax-exempt sales of black stock. Applications for registration as an exempt sale retailer are available from TRA.

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