State of Pennsylvania Sales Tax The 2016 Pennsylvania State Sales Tax

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What is the 2016 Pennsylvania Sales Tax Rate?

Pennsylvania Sales Tax Rate

6.00%

2016 Pennsylvania state sales tax
Exact tax amount may vary for different items

The Pennsylvania state sales tax rate is 6%, and the average PA sales tax after local surtaxes is 6.34%.

  • Groceries, clothing, prescription drugs and non-prescription drugs are exempt from the Pennsylvania sales tax
  • Counties and cities can charge an additional local sales tax of up to 2%, for a maximum possible combined sales tax of 8%
  • Pennsylvania has 227 special sales tax jurisdictions with local sales taxes in addition to the state sales tax
  • Pennsylvania has a higher state sales tax than 61.5% of states

Counties and cities in Pennsylvania are allowed to charge an additional local sales tax on top of the regular Pennsylvania state sales tax (such as Philadelphia County, which charges an additional 2%).

There are a wide variety of exempt items, including groceries (but not soft drinks or prepared foods), clothes and shoes, internet service, newspapers, farm supplies, residential fuel, and other items. Alcohol is taxed at the normal sales tax rate, but this (and other levies or excise taxes) are sometimes included in the cost of the liquor when purchased at places such as bars or restaurants.

If you are a Pennsylvania business owner, you can learn more about how to collect and file your Pennsylvania sales tax return at the 2016 Pennsylvania Sales Tax Handbook .

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Pennsylvania Sales Tax Exemptions

Pennsylvania doesn't collect sales tax on purchases of most clothing, non-prescription drugs, groceries and prescription drugs. In most states, necessities such as groceries, clothes, and drugs are exempted from the sales tax or charged at a lower sales tax rate.

Some items may not be eligible for these reduced sales tax rates, such as expensive clothing, unhealthy food or drinks like soda, and certain non-essential pharmaceuticals. For sales tax purposes, Pennsylvania treats candy as a grocery, and does treat soda as a grocery. Other items including gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes are subject to various Pennsylvania excise taxes in addition to the sales tax.

In some states, items like alcohol and prepared food (including restaurant meals and some premade supermarket items) are charged at a higher sales tax rate. The PA sales tax applicable to the sale of cars, boats, and real estate sales may also vary by jurisdiction. Pennsylvania's sales tax rates for commonly exempted items are as follows:

Groceries: EXEMPT Clothing: EXEMPT Prepared Food: 6% Prescription Drugs: EXEMPT Non-Prescription Drugs: EXEMPT
Pennsylvania sales tax for a restaurant meal
$100 Restaurant Dinner
Pennsylvania sales tax for groceries
$100 of groceries
Pennsylvania sales tax for clothing
$100 in clothes
Pennsylvania sales tax for general consumer products
$100 of consumer products
$6.00 sales tax
$106.00 total
$0.00 sales tax
$100.00 total
$0.00 sales tax
$100.00 total
$6.00 sales tax
$106.00 total

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Pennsylvania Sales Tax Exemption Certificate

Unlike a Value Added Tax (VAT), the Pennsylvania sales tax only applies to end consumers of the product. Individuals and companies who are purchasing goods for resale, improvement, or as raw materials can use a Pennsylvania Sales Tax Exemption Form to buy these goods tax-free.

Companies or individuals who wish to make a qualifying purchase tax-free must have a Pennsylvania state sales tax exemption certificate, which can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue . On making an exempt purchase, Exemption Certificate holders may submit a completed Pennsylvania Sales Tax Exemption Form to the vendor instead of paying sales tax.

Sales tax exemption forms (as well as business sales tax id applications, sales tax returns, and the full Pennsylvania sales tax code) can be downloaded from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue here .

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Pennsylvania Sales Tax Calculator

 Sales Tax Calculator
Purchase Details:
$ in zip code Enter the zip code where the purchase was made for local sales tax

Whenever you make a purchase at a licensed Pennsylvania retailer, your sales tax will be automatically calculated and added to your bill. To lookup the sales tax due on any purchase, use our Pennsylvania sales tax calculator.

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Pennsylvania Use Tax [View Main Article]

If you buy goods and are not charged the Pennsylvania Sales Tax by the retailer, such as with online and out-of-state purchases, you are supposed to pay the 6% sales tax (less any foreign sales tax paid) for these items yourself as the Pennsylvania Use Tax.

Your are expected to voluntarily list your liable purchases on a Pennsylvania Use Tax Return, which should be attached with payment to your Pennsylvania Income Tax Return. Historically, compliance rates with with the Pennsylvania Use Tax have been low.

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Pennsylvania Local Sales Taxes

Pennsylvania does not allow local jurisdictions like cities or counties to collect a local sales tax. The Pennsylvania state sales tax of 6% is applicable statewide. You can view the sales tax rates for various cities in Pennsylvania here.


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