PA Sales Tax 101 States

Pennsylvania Sales Tax Guide for Business

by Mark Faggiano

Pennsylvania sales tax

This blog post may now be out of date. For our most up-to-date info on Pennsylvania sales tax, check out our “Pennsylvania Sales Tax Guide for Businesses.”

We’ve been taking a look at what each state has to say about sales tax. Today is Pennsylvania’s turn. So if you have sale tax nexus in Pennsylvania – or think you might – read on to find out what you need to know.

You’re a merchant living anywhere but Pennsylvania

Your business exists outside of the Pennsylvania state lines and you have no sales tax nexus in the state. You’re in luck! You don’t have to worry about Pennsylvania sales tax.

You live and/or operate your business in Pennsylvania

If your business exists within Pennsylvania state lines, you have sales tax nexus in Pennsylvania. Here’s what the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has to say about who has sales tax nexus in the state (link opens in PDF):

Sales tax nexus Pennsylvania

Fortunately, Pennsylvania is an origin-based sales tax state and the sales tax rate in Pennsylvania is 6% across the board except for just two exceptions, so it’s easy to figure out how much sales tax to charge your buyers.

The exceptions are:

  • A 1% local tax is added to purchases made in Allegheny County
  • A 2% local tax is added to purchases made in Philadelphia

So if you have an office, warehouse, employee or in one of the two above areas, you’ll have to add 1 or 2% to the amount of sales tax you collect. Read more about how Amazon treats sales tax in Pennsylvania elsewhere on the blog.

You live out-of-state but use a 3rd party fulfillment service like FBA

While your business is in another state entirely, you figure out you otherwise have nexus in the state of Pennsylvania, maybe through a 3rd party fulfillment service like FBA.

It could possibly change one thing, though: if your nexus is within Philadelphia or Allegheny County, you could face additional taxes as outlined in the above section.

Keep in mind there are several FBA warehouses in the state: two in Breiningsville (Lehigh County), one in Carlisle (Cumberland County), one in Hazleton (Luzerne County), and one in Lewisberry (York County).

Notice neither of these are in Philadelphia or Allegheny count. So if you’re an Amazon FBA Seller, you should collect 6% sales tax from Pennsylvania buyers.

Filing sales tax in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania requires sellers with nexus in their state to register for a Pennsylvania sales tax permit before collecting sales tax. You can do so online or with the PA Enterprise Registration Form.

As far as collecting and remitting payments, all new businesses are on a quarterly system their first year. After the first year you’ll be assigned either a semi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual filing schedule based on how much sales tax your company collects.

If you need to file a sales tax return in Pennsylvania, TaxJar has your back. You can now enroll in AutoFile for the state of Pennsylvania and we’ll automatically file your sales tax return for you! Find out more at TaxJar.

Sales tax on shipping

From the website:

If the item(s) being shipped is taxable, the shipping and handling charges are also subject to tax. If the item(s) being shipped is not subject to Sales Tax, neither are the shipping and handling charges. In the case where items being shipped are of a mixed (both taxable and nontaxable) nature, then the shipping and handling charges for the entire shipment are subject to tax.

Pennsylvania sales tax shipping

So it seems Pennsylvania says to collect sales tax on shipping unless the item isn’t subject to tax at all.

Summary: Pennsylvania is an origin-based state with few exceptions

For the most part Pennsylvania is straightforward – the statewide sales tax rate is 6% with only a couple exceptions. Those two exceptions are Allegheny County, which adds 1%, and Philadelphia, which adds 2%.

If you have sales tax nexus in Pennsylvania, most of the time you’ll only have to worry about the 6% state tax. If your business is in the two places listed above, then the tax rate is 1 or 2% higher.

The sales tax filing schedule for new businesses is strictly quarterly for the first year. After that, though, you’ll be changed to a different schedule depending on how much sales tax you bring in. It could be monthly, semi-annual, or even stay quarterly, but it all depends on the amount of money you’re collecting.

  • Sally

    We are located in PA. If we sell furniture and deliver it to Delaware, must we charge any type of sales tax? We do not have a nexus anywhere else. Do we charge sales tax if the people live out of state, but are picking up the furniture opposed to us delivering it?

  • From our understanding you charge sales tax in neither situation. That said, we can’t give specific sales tax advice, so this is worth a call to your accountant just to make sure.

  • yang

    Hi. Breinigsville is in Lehigh county.

    • Thank you for the correction! This is updated.

  • I have a dirt bike and ATV repair business. The services we provide are taxable. If I am sending a customer part to Wisconsin to have bored and plated would I still charge PA sales tax since we didn’t provide the service?

    • We always suggest you ask your accountant, but if your services are taxable and you charge the customer then it sounds like you would charge sales tax. Sales tax is a tax on the transaction, regardless of where the actual part was worked on.

  • JV

    I work for a fulfillment and distribution company. Our distribution center is outside of Philadelphia in the north west suburbs (Eagleville, PA). We store product that is already owned by our client. In fact, they pay sales tax to the manufacturer when they ship to our facility. They are re-selling this product to their employees who are using personal credit cards to purchase the product. Do we need to collect sales tax and charge the credit card since this is shipping outside of the state and is being re-sold, even though tax on the product was sold coming into our facility?

  • Hi JV,

    Unfortunately we can’t answer complex sales tax questions like that. But we’ve compiled a list of great sales tax experts who can:

    One of these guys would be happy to help!

  • Pingback: A Guide to Sales Tax Nexus in All U.S. States()

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