Fuel tax must be paid by consumers when purchasing propane for use as a motive fuel, or when purchasing it from an automotive dispensing system.
In Alberta, only spec propane is normally sold for motive use.
Fuel tax is remitted to Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA) by propane distributors and producers when they dispense it into a retailer’s tank that can be used to fuel vehicles.
The retailer then passes the tax to the consumer, by including it in the price of taxable propane sold to their customers.
Situations when propane is taxable
Propane is taxable when dispensed into a tank which can be used to fill vehicles. The tax is paid to the propane distributor who delivers the propane and is responsible for remitting the tax to TRA.
Situations when propane is not taxable
Propane is not taxable when:
- a propane distributor sells propane to another propane distributor appearing on the list of Registered Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Distributors
- propane is exported from Alberta in bulk for use outside Alberta
- propane is purchased from a dispensing system other than a dispensing system used to dispense propane for motive fuel, if the propane is purchased for a use other than as a motive fuel
- propane is purchased by a consumer who is an eligible tax-exempt purchaser
- a propane distributor delivers propane into a bulk storage tank, where propane is stored and less than 50% of the propane stored in the tank is sold directly to consumers
- propane is dispensed in portable propane cylinders
- propane is delivered to a consumer and used solely for farming or for non-motive purposes
The Government of Alberta recognizes that many First Nations people and communities in the province prefer not to describe themselves as Indians or bands. These terms have been used where necessary to reflect their legal meanings in the federal Indian Act.
The following consumers are tax-exempt:
- approved tax-exempt consumers, such as mining companies, where the propane is used solely for non-taxable purposes
- see the list of Tax-Exempt Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Purchasers for more information
- diplomats, foreign embassies and the Government of Canada
- eligible consumers if the sale is made on a reserve in Alberta
- for more information about this exemption, and how to register as an AITE fuel seller, see Alberta Indian Tax Exemption (AITE)
Propane distributors, producers and retailers
- A propane distributor is a person who sells or delivers propane to another person for resale in Alberta.
- Distributors are required to remit fuel tax to TRA when the propane is sold to a retailer for resale, to a consumer, or when it is dispensed into a tank which can be used to fuel vehicles.
- Distributors are only required to remit and report tax-included sales to retailers or consumers.
- Distributors that sell propane that may be resold as a motive fuel must file a monthly return, including for periods where there were no taxable sales.
- A propane producer is a person that produces propane. Under the Fuel Tax Act, propane producers are also considered propane distributors.
- Retailers who sell propane from a tank that has a dispensing system that can dispense propane for use as a motive fuel are required to purchase propane tax-included, from the propane distributor who delivers the propane.
- Retailers who sell tax-exempt propane from the same tank can apply for refunds from TRA, for the tax they paid to the distributor.
How to register
For detailed step by step instructions, see:
- Video – How to complete the Fuel Tax Return for Propane Producers and Distributors – November 2022
- Video – How to complete the Fuel Tax Registration – February 2022
- Fuel Tax Registration Instruction Guide (PDF, 896 KB) – November 2021
Step 1. Create or log in to your Alberta.ca Account
- Create a basic account or log in to your Alberta.ca Account.
Step 2: Sign in and select Online Registration
- After you create an Alberta.ca Account, login to TRACS. You will need to sign in using your Alberta.ca Account Digital Identity user name and password. Once you log in, you will be redirected to TRACS.
- Select 'Online Registration'.
- Select ‘Fuel Tax’ from the Program Name menu.
Step 3. Complete and submit the online registration form
- After you submit your registration, you will receive a pending status notification and a reference number. TRA may need to contact you for further information.
Step 4: Once approved
- You will be notified by email that your approval letter is available in your TRACS account.
How to file
Propane producers and distributors may opt to file propane tax returns and remit the propane tax either monthly or on a calendar quarterly basis.
The propane tax return is due on or before the 28th day of the month following the end of the reporting period (monthly or quarterly). A return must be filed even if no taxable sales were made during the period. Late returns are subject to a penalty.
A claim for a refund must be received by TRA no later than 3 years from the end of the calendar year the exempt propane sale occurred.
Step 1: Complete the return/claim in TRACS
Log in to your TRACS account and select 'File a Return/Claim'.
Step 2: Submit your return/claim
- Submit the return/claim, and print or save the confirmation page for your records.
- For claims, to determine the eligible volumes, use the Calculation on Non-taxable Volumes Daily Worksheet (AT385) (PDF, 275 KB). Only submit this worksheet upon request using Submit Document in TRACS.
Step 3: Remit the amount owing or receive your refund
- Remit the amount owing (see Making payments).
- Interest will be charged on late remittances and will continue to accrue until the balance is paid in full.
- For claims, you will receive your refund by direct deposit – see Set up direct deposit.
- If the assessment differs from your filing, if interest or penalties apply, or if a balance is owing, a notice of assessment will be available in your TRACS account.
Step 4: Report Sales to Retailers (annual report)
- LPG producers/distributors are required to complete the Annual LPG Sales to Retailers (PDF, 755 KB) each calendar year.
- Once completed, upload using the TRACS Submit Documents function on or before January 28 of the following year.
Maintain your account in TRACS
TRA Client Self-Service (TRACS) is a secure online system for authorized Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA) clients to conveniently conduct business with TRA.
Retailers and distributors can do the following tasks in TRACS:
- file returns/claims
- view the status of submissions
- view notices of assessment (if available)
- access financial information and view account period balances
- update address and contact information
- delegate account access to other employees or authorized individuals
- submit documents
- file a notice of objection
- request for waiver of penalties and interest
For more details, instructional videos and to log in to your TRACS account, see TRACS information.
How to authorize a representative
An individual with proper authorization for the business may consent to the release of confidential information about account(s) with TRA to a specific firm and/or individual.
An individual with proper authorization for the business includes a(n):
- partner of a partnership
- corporate director
- trustee of an estate
- individual with delegated authority
Step 1: Fill out the Alberta Consent Form
Step 2: Submit the consent form
- Submit your completed consent form to TRA.
Step 3: Representative receives PIN (only for TRACS access)
- TRA will review the consent form to ensure it is complete.
- TRA will issue a PIN number to the individual via e-mail. TRACS access can only be provided to an individual.
The representative must enter the PIN and account number to access TRACS account. See How to access TRACS for instructions.
Publications, forms and videos
These documents discuss procedural matters and administrative policies and practices for programs administered by TRA. They are updated as necessary and a revision number assigned.
Cross-program information circulars
- TRA-1R2 – Introduction to Tax and Revenue Administration – December 2021
- TRA-2 – TRA Fairness and Service Pledge – June 2023
- TRA-3 – Alberta Commodity Tax Acts – Voluntary Disclosures – November 2018
Fuel tax information circulars
- FT-1R2 – Overview of the Alberta Fuel Tax Program – November 2022
- FT-2 – Information for Direct Remitters, Fuel Seller and Other Recipients – November 2022
- FT-3R3 – Administration of the Alberta Fuel Tax Program – November 2022
- FT-4R3 – Alberta Fuel Tax Exemptions, Refunds and Rebates – November 2022
- AT361 – Annual LPG Sales to Retailers (PDF, 755 KB) – September 2022
- AT385 – Calculation on Non-taxable Propane Volumes Daily Worksheet (PDF, 275 KB) – effective March 27, 2015
- AT4762 – Notice of Objection – December 2020
- AT4764 – Request for a Waiver of Penalties and Interest (PDF, 841 KB) – November 2023
- How to complete the Fuel Tax Return for Propane Producers and Distributors – November 2022
- How to complete the Fuel Tax Registration – February 2022
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