The Pennsylvania (PA) state sales tax rate is currently 6.0%. Depending on local municipalities, the total tax rate can be as high as 8%.

The maximum rate combined with local sales tax rates can be no higher than 8.0%. At present, Philadelphia is allowed to impose an additional 2% sales tax rate through June 30, 2014 and Allegheny County is authorized to levy a 1% local sales tax.

Pennsylvania is one of the few states with a single, statewide sales tax. Businesses in Pennsylvania are required to file and remit sales tax electronically. Trustfile, owned by Avalara, is the single approved third party software vendor for filing sales tax in Pennsylvania.

Major items that Pennsylvania does not tax: food (except for ready-to-eat), most clothing apparel, textbooks, drugs, sales for resale items and residential heating fuels. Pennsylvania provides a Retailer’s Information Guide with a list of taxable items in the state.

Pennsylvania was listed in Kiplinger’s 2011 10 tax-friendly states for retirees. Food, clothing and medicine are exempt from sales tax. There is no income tax on social security and qualified retirement income, but property taxes can be high in some areas.

Amazon.com owns and operates several fulfillment centers in Pennsylvania. This physical presence, or nexus, creates a sales tax obligation for Amazon and many sellers participating in Amazon’s Seller Central and Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) programs.

It is said that the history of sales taxes in the US dates back to a license tax imposed by Pennsylvania in 1821. A general sales tax was adopted in the state around 1953.

Pennsylvania sales and use tax must be collected by anyone making retail sales of tangible personal property or taxable services. Anyone leasing, renting or using tangible personal property or renting hotel rooms is also required to register with the state and obtain a sales tax license.

How to Register

Businesses may register online through PA Biz Online. Forms may also be downloaded from the website.

How to File and Pay

Electronic filing through TeleFile or e-Tides is preferred. Third-party vendors may also be used if approved by the Department of Revenue. Sales and use tax forms are available on the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website.

  • Businesses with a tax liability between $25,000 and $100,000 or more than $100,000 for the third calendar quarter of the preceding year are required to file monthly returns with specific pre-payment obligations.
  • Businesses with a tax liability of less than $25,000 but greater than $600 per quarter must file monthly.
  • Businesses with a total tax liability of less than $600 in the third calendar quarter, but greater than $300 annually, must file quarterly.
  • Businesses with a total tax liability of $300 or less annually must file semi-annually.

Zero returns (no sales tax due) are required.

Deadlines

Sales tax returns are due by the 20th day of the month following the month in which the tax was collected. Semi-annual returns are due August 20 and February 20.

Avalara Sales and Use Tax Products for Pennsylvania

AvaTax – AvaTax is a powerful, online sales tax compliance solution that provides all businesses with a level of sales tax automation that until now has been available only to Fortune 500 companies. AvaTax’s transaction-based service model and seamless integration into business applications gives you rapid access to all jurisdiction assignments and real-time sales tax calculations. Cutting-edge technologies and superior processing logic can manage even the most complicated tax issues, such as situs, nexus, tax tiers, tax holidays, exemptions, certificate management and product taxability rules.

TrustFile - Avalara TrustFile provides detailed sales tax reporting for online sellers. Allowing businesses to know exactly where, when and how much to file. Ecommerce business owners can use TrustFile to determine whether or not they are collecting the right amount of sales tax in each individual state, and then store a record of their sales tax history securely in the cloud for free.

Pennsylvania Department of Revenue