Tobacco tax

Reporting and remitting information for tobacco collectors and information for retailers on how to get a refund of the tobacco tax.

Important notices

Budget 2024 was introduced in the Alberta Legislature on February 29, 2024. In an effort to further deter tobacco use among Albertans, Alberta's government has increased tax rates on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco effective March 1, 2024.

For more information, see:


In Alberta, tobacco tax is generally reported and remitted by licensed importers and wholesalers appointed as tobacco tax collectors. Tobacco tax is charged at the time tobacco is imported or when tobacco product is sold and removed from a collector’s registered Alberta warehouse.

The collector recovers the tax when the tobacco is sold, tax-included, to the next recipient in the distribution chain. Each recovers the tobacco tax from the party they sell to, continuing until the end consumer pays the tax.

Tobacco tax applies to all tobacco, including:

  • cigarettes
  • tobacco sticks
  • cigars and cigarillos
  • smokeless tobacco (for example, chewing tobacco, snuff, and snus)
  • other loose tobacco (for example, fine cut, pipe, water pipe and raw leaf tobacco)

Alberta retailers are generally not required to register or be licensed in Alberta to sell tobacco, unless located on a reserve, are a duty-free shop, or are claiming a refund of tobacco tax due to theft or destruction.

Retailers are required to purchase all tobacco from wholesalers or importers licensed in Alberta.

Alberta’s tobacco stamp

Each package, carton and case of cigarettes, tobacco sticks or fine cut tobacco  must be marked for tax-paid sale in Alberta by a marking permit holder. The following is an example of the Alberta stamp:

Alberta tobacco tax stamp

Alberta package stamps are available in the following denominations:

  • cigarettes and tobacco sticks: 20 and 25 units
  • fine cut tobacco: 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 400 grams

Cartons are marked with a separate stamp affixed 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 bears the inscription “ALBERTA” printed in black.

Tobacco stamped or marked for sale in other provinces cannot be sold in Alberta.

Manufacturers and importers can obtain Alberta stamps through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) using the established process to obtain federal excise (tobacco) stamps. More information on this process can be found by visiting CRA’s website.

See Information Circular TTA-2 – Information for Tobacco Tax Collectors, Wholesalers, Importers and Retailers for more information including exact specification and placement requirements for Alberta stamps.

Unmarked tobacco and black stock

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

Alberta unmarked tobacco

Pipe tobacco, cigars, loose tobacco and raw leaf tobacco intended for sale in Alberta will have a federal stamp to indicate duty has been paid, but are not marked with an Alberta stamp.

Alberta unmarked tobacco for sale must be purchased with tax included, unless sold to another Alberta licensed tobacco tax collector.

Black stock

Black stock is tobacco product, including cigarettes, tobacco sticks and fine cut tobacco, that is:

  • not stamped or marked for sale in a particular province
  • stamped or marked as required by the federal legislation or regulation

Only Alberta Indian Tax Exemption (AITE) retailers and duty-free shops can purchase black stock for sale to consumers in Alberta.

Black stock may be exported to Canadian jurisdictions that do not have a provincial or territorial stamp.

Importers and wholesalers

The Tobacco Tax Act requires all wholesalers and importers to be licensed to sell or import tobacco for resale in Alberta.

Importers and wholesalers (including manufacturers) in Alberta are those that supply tobacco to Alberta as the first step in the distribution chain.

  • Importers

    An importer is a person who imports or brings tobacco into Alberta for sale to a consumer or for resale and is required to be licensed.

    Licensed importers are required to register, file a return and remit tobacco tax on product imported into Alberta on a monthly basis, even if the return is nil.

  • Wholesalers

    A wholesaler is a person, including a manufacturer, who sells, or offers tobacco for resale. A wholesaler is not permitted to sell tobacco for resale in Alberta unless licensed in Alberta.

    A wholesaler may be appointed as a tobacco tax collector or a non-collector. Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA) will review each tobacco licence application to determine which category the wholesaler falls into. To be eligible for appointment as a tax collector, a wholesaler cannot sell tobacco in Alberta from a retail store (including an online store) and cannot regularly sell tobacco directly to consumers.

    A licensed wholesaler appointed as a tobacco tax collector is required to file a tobacco tax return and remit the tobacco tax on product sold into Alberta on a monthly basis, even if the return is nil.

    A wholesaler may apply for a refund of Alberta tax paid on tobacco when:

    • tobacco was exported to another jurisdiction before being sold
    • tobacco was sold on credit to a retailer or another wholesaler and all or a portion of the debt becomes uncollectible (wholesalers only)
    • tobacco was stolen or destroyed before being sold to a consumer
    • tobacco became stale-dated and cannot be returned to the manufacturer or supplier

    See Information Circular TTA-2 – Information for Tobacco Tax Collectors, Wholesalers, Importers and Retailers for more information on making a claim, including the deadline to file a claim.

How to register

For detailed step by step instructions, see:

Video: How to complete the Tobacco Tax Registration

Step 1: Create or log in to your Account

  • Create or log in to your Account.

Create or log in to Account

Step 2: Sign in and select Online Registration

  • After you create an Account, login to TRACS. You will need to sign in using your Account username and password. Once you log in, you will be redirected to TRACS (TRA Client Self-Service).
  • Select 'Program Registration'.
  • Select 'Tobacco 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 contact you for additional information.

Step 4: Once approved

  • You will be notified by email that your approval letter and licence are available in your TRACS account.

How to file

Step 1: Register for TRACS (TRA Client Self-Service)

Step 2: Complete your return

Returns are due the 28th day after the end of the month for each period. Late returns are subject to late filing penalties.

  • Complete your tobacco tax return online using TRACS.
  • Print the confirmation page for your records.

Step 3: Remit the tax collected and view the Notice of Assessment

  • Remit the tobacco tax owing on or before the 28th day of the month following the period end.
  • Interest will be charged on late remittances and will continue to accrue until the balance is paid in full.
  • If there were changes made to your return or a balance is owing, a notice of assessment will be available in your TRACS account under View Assessments.

How to pay

Maintain your account in TRACS

TRA Client Self-Service (TRACS) is a secure online system for authorized clients to conveniently conduct business with TRA. You can do the following tasks in TRACS:

  • file returns
  • upload or view tax memos
  • submit documents
  • confirm receipt, completion and submission details of submitted returns
  • view status of prior assessments, financial details and notices of assessment and reassessment
  • access financial information and view account period balances
  • update address and contact information
  • delegate account access to other employees or authorized individuals
  • request for waiver of penalties and interest

For more details, instructional videos and to log in to your TRACS account, see TRACS information.

Electronic submission of tobacco tax memo

Tobacco tax memo suppliers with TRACS accounts can submit tobacco tax memos electronically, formatted to TRA standards.

File format requirements

Refer to the following document for information on the file format, field definitions and additional instructions on how to create an XML file:

Prior to uploading and submitting the XML file, refer to the following document to validate and test it, to ensure it conforms to TRA’s business rules and formatting requirements:

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):

  • owner
  • 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 secure 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.


A retailer is a person who purchases tobacco from a licensed wholesaler or licensed importer for sale to consumers. All retailers are required to purchase tobacco (including black stock and other unmarked tobacco products) from licensed wholesalers or importers.

Alberta retailers are generally not required to register or be licensed with the Government of Alberta to sell tobacco unless they are located on a reserve or operate a duty-free shop. Retailers seeking a refund of tobacco tax as a result of a loss (for example, theft, flood) must register and file claims using TRACS.

Retailers wishing to sell tax-exempt tobacco to eligible consumers on a reserve located in Alberta must be registered as an Alberta Indian Tax Exemption (AITE) retailer. For information on how to register as an AITE retailer, and how to apply for a refund of tax on tobacco sold to an eligible consumer, see the AITE page.

Duty free retailers

In order to sell tobacco exempt from tax at a duty free shop in Alberta:

  • the duty free shop must first be licensed as a duty free shop for federal purposes,
  • and then may register for Alberta purposes by sending a written request to [email protected].

How to apply for a refund

Retailers or wholesalers (non-collectors) may apply for a refund of tobacco tax when:

  • tobacco was sold on credit to a retailer or another wholesaler and all or a portion of the debt becomes uncollectible (wholesalers only)
  • tobacco was stolen or destroyed before being sold to a consumer
  • tobacco became stale-dated and cannot be returned to the manufacturer or supplier
  • tobacco was exported to another jurisdiction before being sold

Step 1: Register or log into TRACS

Step 2: Complete the refund application

  • Complete the refund application online using TRACS.
  • Select ‘File a Return/Claim’ from ‘Account Actions.’
  • Submit and print the confirmation page for your records.

TRA must receive the refund application within:

  • uncollectible debt – 90 days of the earlier of:
    • the date you received a notice of bankruptcy or notice appointing a receiver, or
    • the date you identified the debt as uncollectible for income tax purposes
  • stolen or destroyed tobacco – 1 year of when you first became aware of the theft or destruction
  • stale-dated tobacco – 1 year of when you first became aware of the stale-dated tobacco
  • exported tobacco – 3 years from the end of the year in which the tobacco was exported

Step 3: Submit supporting documents

Step 4: Receive your refund

  • After your claim has been assessed, you will receive your refund by direct deposit or cheque.


A consumer is not permitted from possessing the following quantities of tobacco without a permit issued by TRA, a receipt issued by a duty-free shop, or a voucher issued by an exempt sale retailer:

  • 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
  • any combination of tobacco containing more than 1000 grams of tobacco

To apply for a permit, a consumer must send a written request to TRA stating the reasons and intended use.

See TTA-1 – Overview of the Alberta Tobacco Tax Program for more information on the restrictions imposed on consumers.

Importing tobacco from outside Canada

Alberta tobacco tax applies to tobacco imported into Alberta by residents returning to Alberta from outside Canada where the quantity of tobacco imported exceeds or does not qualify for the federal personal exemption.

For more information on the federal exemption, visit the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website.

Importing tobacco from another province or territory

Consumers bringing tobacco into Alberta that was purchased in another province or territory are required to report the importation and pay the Alberta tobacco tax to TRA within 10 days.

When the consumer has been out of Alberta for more than 48 hours, the federal personal exemption may apply on cigarettes, tobacco sticks or manufactured tobacco if the product is stamped or marked federally or provincially.

To report the importation, complete the Non Alberta Marked Tobacco Importation Return (AT208) and submit to TRA.

How to pay

Publications, forms and videos

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Connect with Tax and Revenue Administration

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-3044
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-427-0348
Email: [email protected]