Is clothing taxable in Pennsylvania?

by Sarah Craig April 21, 2020


In most states, clothing is generally considered tangible personal property and subject to sales tax. But a few US states consider clothing tax exempt, and Pennsylvania is one of them.

This post will cover what eCommerce businesses required to collect sales tax in Pennsylvania need to know about selling clothes in the Keystone State.

When is clothing tax exempt in Pennsylvania?

According to Pennsylvania Rev-717 the “Retailer’s Information” bulletin, “wearing apparel” is tax exempt in Pennsylvania. 

But that’s not the whole story. While most clothing is tax exempt, the state makes many exceptions that can cause a headache for eCommerce sellers with sales tax nexus in Pennsylvania. 

Clothing NOT subject to Pennsylvania sales tax includes: 

  • Wearing apparel,” except formal apparel, sporting goods and clothing, and real or imitation fur articles (See more notable exceptions below)
  • Accessories like aprons, gloves (as long as they are cloth or leather), belts, suspenders, scarves, ties. (But not handkerchiefs, which are taxable!)
  • Headwear
  • Leather apparel
  • Maternity clothes
  • Nightgowns
  • Receiving blankets
  • Sporting clothes like gym suits, hunting clothes, camouflage and safety orange or scout uniforms and camp clothes 
  • Underwear such as lingerie, girdles, garters and garter belts, stockings, hosiery, pantyhose and “peds”
  • Work clothes and work uniforms 

When should businesses charge Pennsylvania sales tax on clothing?

However,  there are some notable exceptions when it comes to clothing taxability in Pennsylvania.

Retailers ARE required to collect sales tax on:

  • Costumes – Halloween, Christmas, etc. 
  • Formal clothing – Bridal apparel and accessories, prom dresses, graduation caps and gowns, and tuxedos
  • Fur clothing –  To quote Pennsylvania’s REV-717 bulletin: “Fur, articles made of fur on hide or pelt, or any material imitative of fur, and articles of which fur, real, imitation or synthetic, is the component material of chief value; and fur trimmed articles, if the value of fur is more than three times the value of the next most valuable component material. Felt, wool or fabric is not taxable unless it resembles fur on the hide.”
  • Gloves – made of sheepskin, fur or rubber
  • Sportswear – Baseball, golf and other gloves used in sports; biking clothing; helmets; 
  • Safety clothing – helmets, knee and elbow pads, etc. 
  • Other accessories and ornamental wear (not included in the non-taxable list above) 

As you can see, Pennsylvania can be very detailed on what is and is not taxable, and sometimes it doesn’t altogether make sense. For example, bowling shirts are tax exempt, but bowling shoes are non-taxable. 

How to Automate Pennsylvania Sales Tax Collection 

Do you sell clothing in Pennsylvania? If you do, the state’s inconsistent rules about what is and what is not taxable can be a huge headache. If you accidentally collect sales tax on a product that isn’t taxable, you create a negative customer experience. No one wants your customer to back out of their shopping cart in favor of a competitor who gets tax right.  

But if you don’t collect sales tax on a product that was actually taxable, you end up owing that sales tax out of pocket when it comes time to file your sales tax returns with the state. 

That’s why TaxJar has your back. With the TaxJar API, you can be sure you’re collecting the right amount of sales tax. Our product tax codes ensure you collect sales tax on that taxable prom dress you ship to Pennsylvania, but don’t collect sales tax on the non-taxable printed T-shirts included in the same shipment. 

Further, most eCommerce businesses have nexus in multiple states. For example, clothing priced under $110 is non-taxable at the state level in New York, while clothing is generally taxable in a majority of US states. With TaxJar, you’ll collect the right amount of sales tax from every customer, in every state, every time. 

Ready to automate sales tax collecting, reporting and filing? To learn more about TaxJar and get started, visit TaxJar.com/how-it-works

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