News and Insights

Alberta Budget 2015

Tax Development Oct 27, 2015

Now governed by the New Democratic Party, Alberta released its second budget for 2015 on October 27. President of Treasury Board and Finance Minister, Joe Ceci, focussed on three key priorities: stabilizing frontline public services; returning to a balanced budget; and stimulating economic growth. The province continues to have no sales tax, payroll tax, or health-care premiums; however, increases to certain other taxes, as noted below, will be implemented.

Commodity Tax Measures

The budget announced an increase to its tobacco tax by $5 per carton, effective October 28, 2015. This translates to a tax rate of $50 per carton (up from $45 per carton). The corresponding tax on loose tobacco (i.e., other tobacco products) will also increase by 3.75 cents to 37.5 cents per gram. In addition, the levy on cigars will go up, bringing the tax rate applied to a cigar’s taxable price from 116% to 129%, with the minimum and maximum tax per cigar increasing to 25 cents and $7.83, respectively.

In addition, there will be an increase of 4 cents to the locomotive fuel tax on November 1, 2015. This increases the tax rate from 1.5 to 5.5 cents per litre as of that date.

The budget also announced an increase to the liquor mark-up by 5%, effective October 28, 2015.

Note that these increases are in addition to the tax measures announced in the 2015 budget presented in March.

Other Measures

The controversial new Health Care Contribution Levy that was introduced in this year’s March budget has been eliminated, along with numerous regressive fee increases, such as those for land title searches, motor vehicle registrations, and requests for vital statistics.

Further information on Alberta’s latest 2015 budget may be found on the province's web site at: