A number of retailers face a proposed class action that alleges they unlawfully charged sales tax on protective face masks or coverings considered nontaxable “medical supplies” in Pennsylvania amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 26-page lawsuit alleges Amazon.com, Etsy.com, Zazzle, Brave New Look, Outdoor Research and Arena Merchandising have violated state law by collecting sales tax on protective face masks or coverings during the pandemic without first obtaining a license from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to do so.
According to the complaint, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue exempted from sales tax protective face masks sold at retail during the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by Governor Tom Wolf on March 6, 2020. Per the case, the department provides updates to state and local tax information on its website, and the defendants represent “a fraction of retailers that failed to comply with” Pennsylvania regulations.
“Defendants, as licensed retailers, knew or should have known that, during the state of emergency, ‘medical supplies’ such as face masks or coverings are nontaxable,” the suit says. “Defendants, as licensed retailers, knew or should have known that ‘clothing and accessories’ are nontaxable.”
The lawsuit looks to cover classes comprised of individuals who bought over the internet a protective face mask or face covering from one of the defendant retailers in Pennsylvania and were charged an amount or fee represented to be sales tax on that purchase on or after March 6, 2020.
Initially filed on November 12, 2020 in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, the case has since been removed to Pennsylvania’s Western District Court.
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