A proposed class action claims Walgreens has unlawfully charged sales tax on protective face masks sold in Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the 41-page lawsuit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, face masks were declared exempt from Pennsylvania sales tax during the emergency disaster declaration issued by Governor Tom Wolf on March 6, 2020, and that exemption was extended in late February 2021.
Per the case, defendants Walgreen Co. and Walgreen Eastern Co., Inc., who operate at least 200 Walgreens retail locations in Pennsylvania, have nonetheless charged a seven-percent sales tax on the sale of face masks, thereby injuring those who purchased the items.
“By charging and collecting sales tax on protective face masks, Defendants denied [the plaintiff] and the Class the money and the benefit of the use and retention of money they otherwise would have had, benefited from, or held,” the complaint claims.
The plaintiff, an Allegheny County, resident, says he purchased a face mask from a Glenshaw Walgreens on October 22, 2020. Although the mask was advertised for a price of $8.99, the defendants charged the plaintiff $9.62, which represents an added seven-percent tax, the suit alleges.
According to the case, the plaintiff did not discover the extra $0.63 sales tax charge until he later reviewed his receipt. The defendants, on the other hand, “knew or should have known” that they were not permitted to charge or collect sales tax on protective face masks yet did so anyway, the case charges.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who, since March 6, 2020, purchased a protective face mask or covering from the defendants at a retail store in Pennsylvania or over the internet and arranged for delivery to Pennsylvania and who were charged an amount purporting to represent sales tax.
Walgreens is among a handful of otherretailers in Pennsylvania who have been hit with proposed class action lawsuits over their apparently unlawful practice of charging sales tax on exempt protective face masks during the pandemic.
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