and Revenue Administration
Tobacco Tax Act
Information Circular TTA-7
||February 9, 2017
|| Alberta Treasury Board and Finance,
Tax and Revenue Administration
|For more information:
/ September 2006
TOBACCO TAX ACT INFORMATION CIRCULAR:
CONSUMERS PAYING ALBERTA TOBACCO TAX
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 explains the guidelines Alberta Treasury Board and Finance,
Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA) follows in administering the Tobacco Tax Act (the Act) when consumers purchase tobacco
in Alberta, receive tobacco from outside Alberta, or bring tobacco
into Alberta. The topics in this circular include:
Purchasing Tobacco in Alberta
- Consumers purchase tobacco in Alberta
from either a tobacco retailer or a registered tobacco importer.
The Alberta tobacco tax is included in the purchase price of the
tobacco. Cigarettes, tobacco sticks and fine cut tobacco sold
in Alberta must bear Alberta markings – red tear tape or stickers.
Pipe tobacco, cigars, raw leaf tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff
sold in Alberta are not marked.
Possessing Tobacco in Alberta
- 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 that contain more than 1000 grams of tobacco, or
- any combination of tobacco containing more than1000 grams
- TRA considers persons who possess
more than these quantities without a permit to be retailers. A
consumer can apply to TRA for a permit to possess more than the
quantities noted above. The application should state the reasons
for requiring the excess quantities and the use that will be made
of the tobacco.
- TRA can refuse to issue a permit, or cancel an existing permit:
- where the consumer has:
- contravened the Act or regulations;
- contravened any other Act or regulation of Alberta that
imposes any tax;
- failed to comply with the terms or conditions of a previous
- if TRA believes the tobacco will not be handled in accordance
with the Act, regulations, or terms and conditions of the
- A voucher issued to an eligible Indian consumer under the Alberta
Indian Tax Exemption program or a receipt issued by a duty-free
shop is deemed to be a permit.
Receiving Tobacco from Outside Alberta
- Shipping by mail or courier from outside Canada to a consumer
in Alberta generally constitutes non-commercial importation of
tobacco. Alberta and the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA)
entered into an agreement effective September 1, 2003 for CBSA
to collect Alberta tobacco tax on non-commercial tobacco imports.
It is illegal to mail tobacco products within Canada.
- When tobacco sent by courier or mail to an Alberta consumer
is received in Canada, the CBSA assesses the applicable Alberta
tobacco tax. The tax will be collected from the consumer when
the tobacco is delivered to the consumer. Alberta tax will apply
to all shipments because importation of tobacco by mail or courier
does not qualify for the postal/courier Remission Order nor is
the tobacco eligible for the gift exemption.
Bringing Tobacco into Alberta
Tobacco from Outside Canada
- Alberta tobacco tax applies to tobacco imported into Alberta
by residents returning to Canada where the quantity of tobacco
being imported exceeds, or does not qualify for, the federal traveller's
customs exemption. To be eligible for the federal traveller's
exemption the consumer must have been outside Canada for forty-eight
hours or longer. The current customs exemption for tobacco is:
- 200 cigarettes,
- 200 tobacco sticks,
- 200 grams of manufactured tobacco, and
- 50 cigars or cigarillos.
- Any cigarettes, tobacco sticks or manufactured tobacco imported
into Alberta must be marked “CANADA DUTY-PAID · A DROIT
ACQUITTE”. If the products do not bear this marking they are not
eligible for the exemption and will be taxed.
Tobacco from Other Provinces or Territories
- Consumers returning to Alberta with tobacco purchased in another
province or territory are required to report the importation and
pay Alberta tobacco tax to TRA within 10 days, unless the consumer
has been out of Alberta for a period of forty-eight hours or more,
in which case the federal exemption limits may apply, as discussed
above. No exemption is available unless the cigarettes, tobacco
sticks or manufactured tobacco are stamped or marked federally
- The return for reporting importation of tobacco from other provinces
or territories (form AT208) is available on the Tobacco Tax Forms page.
Limits - Tobacco Not Alberta-marked
- Under the Act consumers are limited to the amount of tobacco
not marked for tax paid sale in Alberta that they can possess.
The limit is:
unless the consumer provides evidence that Alberta tax has been
paid on the tobacco, or the consumer is an eligible Indian.
- 200 cigarettes,
- 200 tobacco sticks, or
- 200 grams of manufactured tobacco
- Consumers should retain the receipt, issued by the CBSA, showing
they have paid Alberta tobacco tax on the tobacco imported, or
retain a copy of the return filed with TRA reporting the tobacco
tax paid when the tobacco was brought into Alberta from another
province or territory. The receipt or copy of the return will
be proof that the tax on the tobacco in their possession has been
- Indians who possess tobacco not marked for tax paid sale in
Alberta should retain the voucher issued under the Alberta Indian
Tax Exemption program as proof of their eligibility to possess.