A Pennsylvania man claims in a proposed class action that 15 different retailers have unlawfully charged sales tax on the price of protective face masks and coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The case, filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, says protective face masks were specifically exempted from sales tax during the state of emergency declared by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in March. Nevertheless, the defendants, who include retailers such as American Eagle, Chico’s, Express, Hot Topic, J.Crew, Kohl’s, and Walgreens, have unlawfully applied a seven-percent tax on the price of the protective items, the lawsuit alleges.
Per the complaint, the defendants should have been aware of the tax exemption for face masks based on “widely-disseminated messages” and the fact that “medical supplies” were exempt from sales tax even before the state of emergency was declared.
The plaintiff says he purchased face masks from the following retailers and was charged an unlawful sales tax by each:
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., which operates under the brands American Eagle, Aerie, Tailgate and AEO Outlet;
Carter’s, Inc., which operates under the brands Carter’s, OshKosh and Skip Hop;
Chico’s FAS, Inc., which operates under the brands Chico’s, White House Black Market, Soma, and TellTale;
Express, Inc., which operates under the Express brand;
Foot Locker, Inc., which operates under the brands Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Eastbay, Footaction, Runners Point, and Sidestep;
Francesca’s Services Corporation, which operates under the Francesca’s brand;
Gabriel Brothers, Inc., which operates under the Gabe’s brand;
Genesco, Inc., which operates under the brands Journeys, Schuh, Johnston & Murphy, and H.S. Trask;
Hot Topic, Inc., which operates under the Hot Topic brand;
J.Crew Group, Inc., which operates under the brands JCrew and Madewell;
Kohl’s Corporation, which operates the Kohl’s brand;
Tapestry, Inc., which operates under the brands Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman;
The Gap, Inc., which operates under the brands Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack, and Hill City;
Vera Bradley, Inc., which operates under the brands Vera Bradley and Pura Vida; and
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., which operates under the Walgreens brand.
The lawsuit alleges violations of Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade and Consumer Protection Law.
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