Pennsylvania Exempts Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings from Sales Tax
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has issued a sales tax bulletin regarding the sales tax treatment of non-medical masks and face coverings. Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, non-medical masks and face coverings were subject to sales tax because nonmedical masks and face coverings were generally classified as ornamental wear or clothing accessories and did not qualify for the clothing exemption.
In an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, the Department responded with a statement that any non-medical cloth or disposable mask purchased for use as a means of protection against the virus was not subject to sales or use tax as of October 30, 2020.
Medical supplies, including medical and disposable surgical masks, are exempt from Pennsylvania sales tax. 72 P.S. § 7204(17); Retailer’s Information Guide (REV-717). Prior to COVID-19, non-medical masks and face coverings were subject to sales tax because nonmedical masks and face coverings were generally classified as ornamental wear or clothing accessories and the use for which consumers purchased non-medical masks and face coverings was not for an exempt purpose. 72 P.S. § 7204(26); Retailer’s Information Guide (REV-717). Retailers were not obligated to determine whether a non-medical mask or face covering would be used for medical purposes because “[t]he determination that purchases qualify for exemptions as…medical supplies and the like, is based essentially upon the use for which the purchase are intended.” 61 Pa. Code § 52.1(a).
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