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Trade groups request, receive sales tax waiver from Pa. Revenue Department

Businesses will not be penalized for failing to meet the March 20 Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) deadline, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue confirmed to the Central Penn Business Journal.

The decision to waive the AST deadline, which normally occurs the 20th of every month, comes after trade groups asked the state to accommodate businesses whose cash flow has come to a halt because of mandated statewide closures in response to the coronavirus.

As for upcoming sales tax payment deadline in April, Revenue Department officials said they will waive the AST prepayment requirement, instead requesting that businesses remit the sales taxes collected in March.

Melissa Bova, vice president of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA), said the trade group was in talks with government officials to negotiate support for small businesses grappling with revenue shortfalls and that the top concern for the trade organization was the March 20 sales tax payment deadline.

“The situation is changing every hour and the focus of PRLA is the safety and welfare of hospitality industry employees, guests, and communities,” PRLA CEO John Longstreet said in an official statement from the trade group.

“We are advocating for the relief and recovery of the industry which includes economic and financial assistance, creating programs that commit funds to restaurants and hotels to survive closures and provide jobs for employees to return to,” he said.

Bova said cash flow is currently nonexistent in the industry her trade group represents and small businesses will need to save what money they do have to re-start once mandated closures of non-essential business operations have been lifted.

“Our businesses with rapidly depleting cash flow need economic stimulus or relief to survive these urgent times,” the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association said in an official statement. “PRLA suggests that Pennsylvania lawmakers delay the March 20 deadline for sales tax remittance and establish a sales tax holiday for businesses and consumers until this pandemic passes.”

Industry lobbyists are also working with regulators to expedite processing of unemployment benefits for the 120,000 Pennsylvanians who submitted claims this week following mandated statewide closures of non-essential and non-life-sustaining businesses.

“Legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed support and agreement,” Bova said. “We believe this can be solved by fast-tracking benefits claims and doing their due diligence to get those benefits into our employees hands as fast as possible.”

Justin Henry
Justin Henry is the regional reporter for the Central Penn Business Journal and the Lehigh Valley Business. He can be reached at jhenry@bridgetowermedia.com.

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