Tobacco Tax Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions are grouped into questions for tobacco retailers, exempt sale retail dealers and tobacco wholesalers.

For help using eTaxBC, please see our eTaxBC Help Guide.

Tobacco Retailers

Exempt Sale Retail Dealers (ESRDs)

Tobacco Wholesalers

Tobacco Retailers

What do I need to do to sell taxable tobacco at retail in B.C.?

To sell tobacco products at retail in B.C., you must hold a valid Tobacco Retail Authorization (TRA) permit. A separate TRA permit is required for each location where tobacco is sold at retail in B.C, including vending machines. 

See Retail Dealers for more information about the TRA permit for both existing vendors selling tobacco at retail, and anyone who intends to sell tobacco products at retail.

For more information about the retail sale of tobacco products in B.C., see the bulletin Tobacco Retailers (TTA 003) (PDF).

Are there any other requirements for selling tobacco at retail in B.C.?

The Ministry of Health's Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act  has specific requirements for tobacco retailers. Read about how you can sell, display and promote tobacco. For more information about your responsibilities as a tobacco dealer, please call toll-free 1-800-465-4911.

Where can I find the current tobacco tax rates?

See Tobacco Tax for the current B.C. tobacco tax rates.

What do I do when tobacco is stolen from my store?

If tobacco is stolen, you may be eligible for a refund of the tobacco tax you paid on the stolen stock. To read about more about applying for a refund and to download the form, see tobacco tax refunds.

Exempt Sale Retail Dealers (ESRDs)

What is black stock tobacco?

Black stock tobacco refers to packages, cartons and cases of cigarettes, and fine cut tobacco products, bearing the federal government's black stock (Canada Duty Paid) tear tape or stamp.

This marking indicates that no provincial tobacco tax has been applied to the cigarettes or loose tobacco. Other tobacco products such as cigars, chew and snuff are not required to be marked, but are permitted to be sold exempt of provincial tobacco tax.

Who can sell black stock tobacco?

You may only sell black stock tobacco if you are a registered Exempt Sale Retail Dealer (ESRD) holding a valid permit. For more information on ESRD permits, see the bulletin Sales to First Nations and the Tobacco Tax Exemption Program (TTA 001) (PDF).

Who do I contact regarding changes (days & hours of business, mailing address etc.) to my ESRD business?

Please contact us at 250-387-9115 or by mail at:

Tobacco Tax Section
Ministry of Finance
PO Box 9442 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C.  V8W 9V4

Who can purchase tobacco exempt of tax?

If you are an Indian under the Indian Act (Canada) and possesses a Certificate of Indian Status card issued by the federal government, you are eligible to purchase tobacco exempt of provincial tax.

This does not include Métis people, Inuit, or non-Canadian Aboriginals because such people do not meet the definition of an Indian under the federal legislation. Exempt tobacco may only be purchased through registered Exempt Sale Retail Dealers located on a reserve or designated land.

Tobacco Wholesalers

What do I need to do to sell tobacco as a wholesale dealer in B.C.?

You must apply for a wholesale dealer permit to wholesale tobacco in B.C. For more information about wholesaling tobacco products, see the bulletins Wholesale Dealers, Security Payments, Exemptions and Refunds (TTA 004) (PDF) and BC's Tobacco Marking Program (TTA 006) (PDF).

As a wholesale dealer, how do I remit tobacco tax to the province?

You are required to pay security (an amount equal to the tax due on the retail sale of the tobacco) on all tobacco you acquire for resale. Payments must be accompanied by a completed Collector's Return.

Your payment and the monthly return are due on the 20th day of the month following the month in which tobacco was purchased. For example, if you are reporting for the period ending January 31, your Collector's Return and payment is due on February 20. Mail your collector's return and cheque payable to the Minister of Finance, Province of British Columbia, to us at:

Tobacco Tax
Ministry of Finance
PO Box 9442 Stn Prov Govt 
Victoria, B.C.  V8W 9V4

For more information on how to complete a Collector's Return, please see the instructions on the back of the form or contact us at 250-387-9115.