About Tobacco Tax

In order to sell tobacco products in British Columbia, you must first register as a Retailer, Exempt Sale Retail Dealer, or a Wholesaler (collector). Tobacco products include cigarettes, loose (fine cut) tobacco, tobacco sticks, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, raw leaf tobacco and products that contain tobacco in any form.

Tobacco Tax - Taxable Sales

Retailers must purchase tobacco products from a registered wholesaler. A registered wholesaler holds a wholesaler permit issued by the ministry.

When a retailer purchases tobacco products from a registered wholesaler, the purchase price includes a security amount, which is equal to the tobacco tax due on the retail sales. The retailer includes this amount in the selling price of the tobacco products to the consumer.

Retailers do not remit tobacco tax to the government because the registered wholesaler is responsible for remitting an amount equal to the tax collected on the retail sales.

For detailed information on retail tobacco sales and current tobacco tax rates, please see:

Tobacco Retailers (Bulletin TTA 003)
Tax Rates on Tobacco Products (Bulletin TTA 005)

Tax-Exempt Sales

Provincial tobacco tax does not apply to tobacco intended for tax-exempt retail sales. You must hold an Exempt Sale Retail Dealer (ESRD) permit issued by the ministry to sell tax-exempt tobacco products. These products may be sold only to people eligible for the tax exemption, such as qualifying status Indians purchasing on a reserve, or members of the consular or diplomatic corps.

If you are an ESRD who intends to also sell taxable tobacco products, you must purchase these products from a registered wholesaler.

For detailed information on selling tax-exempt tobacco to eligible customers, please see:

Exempt Sales Made by Retail Dealers (Bulletin TTA 001)
Exemption for Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps (Bulletin GEN 006)

Black Stock Tobacco

As of October 1, 2002, all packages, cartons and cases of cigarettes and fine cut tobacco products intended for exempt sales in British Columbia are required to bear the federal government's black stock mark, as per the Excise Act, 2001 (Canada). The mark indicates that provincial tobacco tax has not been applied.

The black stock mark varies according to the type of tobacco:

for cigarettes and tobacco sticks, the mark is a peach-coloured tear tape on which the words "Canada Duty Paid - Droit Acquitte" are imprinted
for fine cut tobacco in pouches or in tubs, the mark is a transparent tear tape or a stamp on which the words "Canada Duty Paid - Droit Acquitte" are imprinted

The black stock program does not apply to cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff and raw leaf tobacco. These products do not require any provincial mark or stamp and continue to be available for tax-exempt sales, subject to existing ESRD allocation restrictions. As an ESRD, you may purchase black stock tobacco from your authorized wholesale dealer only.