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Alberta government changes fuel tax regulations

If you thought being exempt from paying fuel taxes was pretty sweet, it’s about to get even better.

Last week, Alberta’s lieutenant governor approved changes to the Fuel Tax Regulation that had been recommended by Travis Toews, the minister of finance.

There aren’t many changes, so let’s get right into it.

Prior to the changes, section 12(1) read as follows:

12(1) A fuel tax exemption certificate expires on the earliest of
(a) the expiry date shown on the certificate,
(b) the date the person to whom the certificate was issued ceases to conduct activities that qualify the person to obtain the certificate, and
(c) the date the certificate is cancelled by the Minister.

p. 16–17

What Toews proposed was removing clause a, which seems to indicate that fuel tax exemption certificates will no longer have an expiry date. Apparently, once you get a certificate, you will be exempt from fuel tax until you no longer need it or the minister decided to revoke it.

In section 14, subsections 1–4 deal with the sale of tax-exempt fuel. Both subsections 1 and 4 removed the following clauses:

14(1)(c) . . . an exempt-sale vendor shall, before selling tax-exempt fuel to a consumer, take reasonable steps to ensure that the fuel is intended for a prescribed purpose or use.

14(4)(c) An exempt-sale vendor shall, before selling fuel to a farmer at the reduced price, take reasonable steps to ensure that the fuel is intended for farming operations in Alberta.

p. 20–22

Intriguingly, similar language was not removed from 14(2) or 14(3), which read as follows:

(2) If the consumer is an Indian, the exempt-sale vendor shall
(a) record the approval number of the ministerial identification card or, if the Indian presents a federal identification card, the number that appears on the federal identification card, and
(b) take reasonable steps to ensure that the consumer is the person identified on the identification card, and the fuel is for personal use.

(3) If the consumer is an Indian band, the exempt-sale vendor shall
(a) record the approval number of the ministerial identification card, and
(b) take reasonable steps to ensure that the fuel is intended for Indian band purposes and is paid for by the band.

p. 20

So, if I’m reading that right, Indigenous consumers still must prove that they’ll use tax-exempt fuel for specific uses, but the general public and farmers no longer will have to?

The next 3 sections refer to refunds and rebates, and the new changes have removed subsection (b) from both of these sections:

20(2) . . . an application for a refund of tax under section 14 of the Act must . . . (b) be accompanied with invoices and any other records and documents required by the Minister (i) to prove the claim, and (ii) to determine the amount of fuel tax to be refunded

21(4) An application for a refund of tax under section 14 of the Act
in respect of a bad debt must . . . (b) be accompanied with invoices and any other records and documents required by the Minister (i) to prove the claim, and (ii) to determine the amount of fuel tax to be refunded

23(2) An application for a rebate of tax under section 15 of the Act
for fuel used for a purpose or use described in subsection (1) must . . . (b) be accompanied with invoices and any other records and documents required by the Minister (i) to prove the claim, and (ii) to determine the amount of the rebate

p. 23, 25

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like including proof that you qualify for a refund or rebate should be an important part of applying for that refund or rebate.

The second to last change was to section 35(1):

35(1) Except where subsection (2) applies, a seller of fuel, including a vendor, shall keep . . . (b) complete and accurate records on a daily basis of the amount in litres of each type and grade of aviation fuel,
liquefied petroleum gas or marked fuel that the seller (i) produces, (ii) transfers to another seller, (iii) delivers outside Alberta, or (iv) marks.

In this section, the only change is removing “on a daily basis”, which means that the fuel seller is still required to keep records of fuel they produce, transfer, export, or mark, but those records don’t need to be daily.

And the final change was adding “or calendar year” to the end of this section:

41(2.1) The Minister may establish a threshold for particular operations or activities, and if a direct remitter engages in those operations or activities falling under that threshold, the direct remitter may, instead of submitting returns under subsection (1), submit to the Minister a return in a form and manner specified by the Minister so that it is received by the Minister not later than 28 days following the end of each calendar quarter.

The change is that the remitter in this section can submitting returns within 4 weeks of the end of a quarter, or they can wait until 4 weeks after the end of the year.

So to sum up:

  • No more expiry dates on fuel tax exemption certificates
  • No longer needing proof that you’ll use the fuel for its intended purpose
    • Unless you’re Indigenous, then you still need to prove it.
  • No longer needing proof when applying for a refund or rebate
  • Being able to wait until the end of the year (instead of the quarter) to submit your return

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I am a political economy student at the University of Athabasca, working on my second undergrad degree.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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