Walmart Sales Tax on Dietary Supplements Pennsylvania Class Action

The complaint for this class action alleges that Walmart charged customers tax on dietary supplements in Pennsylvania, when in fact Pennsylvania does not tax these items. At issue are 5-Hour Energy drinks.

The class for this action is all individuals who (1) on or after October 7, 2014 bought a dietary supplement from a Walmart or Sam’s Club in Pennsylvania or online at the Walmart or Sam’s Club websites, and (2) paid a sales tax on the dietary supplement.

Plaintiff Christopher Lisowski bought a six-pack of 5-Hour Energy drink on December 29, 2019 at a Walmart in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He paid $13.48 for the drinks and was charged 94 cents in tax on the purchase.

On September 14, 2020, Lisowski repeated the purchase at the same store. Again, he purchased the six-pack of 5-Hour Energy drinks for $13.48 and was charged 94 cents in tax.

A photo of the six-pack of drinks and the receipts for the purchases were attached to the complaint when filed as Exhibits 1, 2, and 3.

The complaint alleges that Pennsylvania law requires that tax be “imposed upon each separate sale of tangible personal property within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania equal to 6% of the ‘purchase price’ … which shall be collected by the vendor from the purchaser.”

However, the complaint says that certain products are excluded from the sales tax, including “Dietary Supplements and Substitutes.”

The complaint refers to a publication put out by the state’s Department of Revenue called a “Retailer’s Information” booklet that lists taxable and non-taxable (exempt) items. The complaint says, “In that publication, the Department of Revenue expressly advised retailers, including grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and establishments similar to Defendant Walmart[] that: ‘dietary supplements and substitutes, in any form’ are exempt from sales tax.”

The complaint alleges that Walmart should therefore not have charged tax on the 5-Hour Energy drinks as “the products purchased are clearly labeled and identified as ‘DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS.’”

The Department of Revenue’s Board of Appeals, the complaint says, has already “provided guidance” on this. Referring to a similar case where the products at issue were the same 5-Hour Energy drinks, the complaint notes, “On June 17, 2020, the Department’s Board of Appeals entered a Decision and Order, finding that the collection of sales tax on dietary supplements was improper.”

Documents on the petition and other aspects of the case were also attached to the complaint when it was filed, including one that shows that the petitioner received a refund from the Department of Revenue.

The complaint therefore contends that Walmart has been overcharging customers for dietary supplements. It alleges conversion and misappropriation, among other things.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Taxes

Most Recent Case Event

Walmart Sales Tax on Dietary Supplements Pennsylvania Complaint

November 12, 2020

The complaint for this class action alleges that Walmart charged customers tax on dietary supplements in Pennsylvania, when in fact Pennsylvania does not tax these items. At issue are 5-Hour Energy drinks.

Walmart Sales Tax on Dietary Supplements Pennsylvania Complaint

Case Event History

Walmart Sales Tax on Dietary Supplements Pennsylvania Complaint

November 12, 2020

The complaint for this class action alleges that Walmart charged customers tax on dietary supplements in Pennsylvania, when in fact Pennsylvania does not tax these items. At issue are 5-Hour Energy drinks.

Walmart Sales Tax on Dietary Supplements Pennsylvania Complaint
Tags: Improper Sales Tax Charges, Sales Tax