Pennsylvania’s sales and use tax rate is 6 percent. Additionally, the state allows local jurisdictions to add additional sales tax. The state, county, or municipalities can also add specialty taxes, such as accommodations taxes, rental taxes, and more.
This guide does not fully describe all of Pennsylvania’s laws and regulations regarding taxes. Business taxpayers should contact a business attorney or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website to learn more about the rules, regulations, tax laws, and tax information associated with their industries and the types of taxes due.
Types of taxes
Pennsylvania has several taxes for various industries in addition to sales and use taxes.
Sales and use tax for sales of goods and services
Pennsylvania taxes sales of tangible personal property and some services at 6 percent. Some counties or municipalities add discretionary sales and use tax. Business owners must pay use tax if they purchase taxable goods or services without paying tax and store or use them instead of reselling.
An individual who purchases taxable goods and does not pay the sales tax at the time of purchase must also pay use tax. This might happen if someone purchases goods from out of state and the seller does not charge sales tax. The use tax return is the same as the sales tax return.
Alcoholic beverage taxes
Pennsylvania has three alcoholic beverage taxes.
- Direct wine shipments: In addition to the state and local sales taxes, direct wine shipments are subject to a $2.50 per gallon excise tax. Pennsylvania’s liquor tax does not apply to direct wine shipments.
- Malt beverage tax: Malt and brewed beverages manufactured or sold in Pennsylvania or manufactured out of state but sold in Pennsylvania are taxed. The manufacturers, distributors, and importers remit the tax but pass it onto consumers. The malt beverage tax is $2.48 per gallon.
- Liquor tax: The state levies an 18-percent tax on the distribution of liquor. The first sale of liquor, e.g., to a retailer, is the sale that is taxed. The manufacturers include the cost of the tax in their products, which is eventually passed onto the consumer.
Motor vehicle rental surcharge tax
Pennsylvania has several rental and tire surcharge taxes. The taxes are in addition to sales and use tax and other taxes levied on vehicle rentals. When figuring the tax, do not tax one tax with another. For example, if a vehicle rental is $100, figure the sales tax on $100, the vehicle rental tax on $100, and the other taxes on $100.
- Tires: $1 per new tire. Only new tires for highway use are taxed. Off-road tires and used tires are not subject to this fee.
- Motor vehicle rentals: $2 per rental day or part of a rental day if the rental is for fewer than 30 days.
- Motor vehicle leases: 3 percent tax on the total lease payment, including the down payment and any accelerated lease payments.
Additionally, Pennsylvania levies a 2-percent vehicle rental tax on rental companies that rent vehicles designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers if the rental agency has five or more motor vehicles. The tax also applies to trucks, trailers and semi-trailers used to transport property that is not commercial freight. The tax is on vehicles rented for 29 or fewer consecutive days.
Carsharing services must also pay a tax as follows:
- Less than 2 hours: $0.25
- 2 to 3 hours: $0.50
- Over three hours, but less than 4 hours: $1.25
- 4 or more hours: $2.00
A room rental charge at the same rate as the sales tax rate – 6 percent – is levied on room rentals for 30 or fewer days by the same person. The tax also applies to rooms, apartments, and houses rented through third-party brokers or online. Accommodation fees charged by booking agents are also taxable at the 6-percent rate.
Gross receipts tax
Pennsylvania levies a gross receipts tax on several industries, including:
- Electric companies: 59 mills on gross receipts from electric energy sales. The tax is paid annually, and the due date is March 15.
- Telecommunications: 50 mills on gross receipts from telephone and telegraph messages transmitted within Pennsylvania. Included are mobile telecommunications services, international landline calls that originate or terminate in Pennsylvania, interstate calls, and calls billed to a service address within the state. The tax is payable yearly on March 15.
- Transportation: 50 mills on gross receipts from baggage, freight, and passengers transported in Pennsylvania. Intrastate shipments of freight and oil are also taxed. Transportation by railroad and motor vehicles is exempt. The tax is due annually on March 15.
- Private bankers: 1 percent on gross receipts from commissions on loans, discounts on loans, banking services, depositor account fees and charges, safe deposit box rentals, profits from the purchase and sale of securities, and interest on mortgages, bonds, dividends and premiums. The tax is due annually on February 15.
- Managed care organizations: 59 mills on gross receipts received by managed care organizations pursuant to a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
Motor fuel taxes
The motor fuel tax rates for 2022 are good through the calendar year. In addition to the motor fuel tax rates for various types of fuel, the business must pay a 1.1-cent per gallon underground storage tank fee to the Insurance Department. Motor fuel taxes include:
- Aviation gasoline: $0.060 per gallon
- Jet fuel: $0.020 per gallon
- Liquid fuels (gasoline for engines and gasohol): $0.576 per gallon
- Undyed diesel and undyed kerosene: $0.741 per gallon
Retail businesses selling wireless telephones and pre-paid telecommunication services must collect and remit $1.65 per retail transaction for emergency-911 surcharges.
In addition to the state sales tax of 6 percent, Allegheny County levies a 1-percent sales tax on retail sales. Philadelphia levies a 2-percent local tax to sales of tangible personal property.
Registering for and filing Pennsylvania's taxes
Register to pay sales tax and other taxes with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue e-TIDES. You can also amend sales tax returns through e-TIDES.
Pennsylvania sales tax due dates
Sales taxes are due monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. In some cases, the tax must be pre-paid. When you sign up for your account, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will advise as to your payment frequency.
Sales, use, and hotel occupancy taxes are due:
- Monthly: On the 20th day of the month following the month that the business collected the tax.
- Quarterly: On the 20th day of the first month after the end of the quarter. For example, first-quarter taxes collected from January through March are due on or before April 20.
- Semi-Annually: The first half of 2022 is due on or before August 22, 2022. The second half is due on or before February 21, 2022.
Pre-paid taxes for 2022 are due pursuant to the following:
- January 1 through January 31: Due January 20.
- February 1 through February 28: Due February 22.
- March 1 through March 31: Due March 21.
- April 1 through April 30: Due April 20.
- May 1 through May 31: Due May 20.
- June 1 through June 30: Due June 21.
- July 1 through July 31: Due July 20.
- August 1 through August 31: Due August 22.
- September 1 through September 30: Due September 20.
- October 1 through October 31: Due October 20.
- November 1 through November 30: Due November 21.
- December 1 through December 31: Due December 20.
Pennsylvania sales tax holiday
Pennsylvania does not have a sales tax holiday as of the end of the third quarter of 2022, though a Pennsylvania senator is pushing for a sales tax holiday.
Remote and marketplace sellers
Remote sellers and marketplace facilitators must collect Pennsylvania sales tax if they have over $100,000 in gross receipts into the state for the previous year. Previously, the state had an option for out-of-state businesses to advise buyers to pay use tax. However, that option is no longer available. Collecting sales tax if a business meets the financial nexus is mandatory.
The sales tax rate and use tax rate for Pennsylvania is 6 percent. Alleghany County adds 1 percent to the sales tax rate, and Philadelphia adds 2 percent to the state sales tax rate.
Pennsylvania has one tax form for an exemption certificate and resale certificate. The business does not have to file the form but must give a completed copy to a seller. Nonprofits and other exempt businesses must also give a copy to the seller. Businesses should also keep a copy for each seller in their records.
Pennsylvania businesses can register for tax updates via email.
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue prefers that businesses file online or through Telefile ((800) 748-8299). Payments over $1,000 must be made electronically. Otherwise, if a business must file via mail, it should mail payments and returns to the PA Department of Revenue, B.I.D.M., PO Box 280406, Harrisburg, PA 17128-0406.
Businesses can send a certified cashier’s check or money order for the amount due to the PA Department of Revenue, BTFT EFT Unit, 9th Floor Strawberry Unit, Fourth and Walnut Streets, Harrisburg, PA 17128-0908.
E-TIDES allows more than one person to have access to the account. However, each filer must register their own electronic signature. Each filer will have a personal user ID and password to access the account.
Complete REV-1176 e-TIDES Administrative Access Change Request and the REV-677 Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative forms to remove the old administrator and change the access rights to the account.