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Third Party Facilitated Sales and Deliveries

Many third-party businesses offer online platforms or applications that allow customers to order food, drinks, groceries, and other items from select retail stores and restaurants, either with simple delivery or for pickup at the restaurant or retail stores’ locations. Pennsylvania law requires businesses that contract with restaurants or other businesses to collect sales tax on customers’ orders. That includes the cost of taxable items purchased, as well as delivery and service fees.

A business that offers these services must obtain a sales tax license to begin collecting and remitting the appropriate sales tax. The business must complete the Online Business Entity Registration (PA-100), available at www.pa100.state.pa.us, to obtain a license. Additional information that lists which items are subject to Pennsylvania sales tax is available in the Department of Revenue’s Retailers’ Information Guide.

As a reminder, restaurants or stores that deliver their own food or products to customers or prepare their own food or products for customers to pick up, or hire independent contractors to deliver or prepare these items, must collect sales tax on both the cost of the taxable items and food as well as any related delivery and service fee.

Below are examples of how Pennsylvania sales tax applies to third-party delivery businesses.

T=Taxable NT=Nontaxable

Example 1

A restaurant contracts with a delivery business to list its menu on the delivery business’ website. A customer places an order for delivery of prepared food from that restaurant, to be delivered by the delivery business. The customer pays the delivery business for the cost of the food, as well as both a delivery and service fee. The delivery business must collect and remit sales tax on that total charge to the customer.

Example transaction

Hamburger/French Fries (T)$10.50
Service fee (T)$1.00
Delivery fee (T)$3.00
Total$14.50
Tax$0.87
Total with tax $15.37

Example 2

A grocery store or eating establishment which also operates as a food retailer contracts with a delivery business to list its menu and grocery type items on the delivery business’ website.  A customer places an order for delivery of prepared food as well as grocery type items from that retailer, to be delivered by the delivery business.  The customer pays the delivery business for the cost of the food, as well as both a delivery and service fee. The delivery business must collect and remit sales tax on the taxable items purchased as well as the delivery and service fees.

Example transaction

Hamburger/French Fries (T)$10.50
Bottled Water (NT)$1.50
Loaf of Bread (NT)$3.00
Service fee (T)$1.00
Delivery fee (T)$3.00
Total$19.00
Tax$0.87
Total with tax $19.87

Example 3

A grocery store contracts with a business to list its grocery type products on the business' website.  A customer places an order through the website. The grocery store employees package the items and the customer picks up the order from the grocery store. The customer pays the business for the cost of the products as well as a service fee. The business must collect and remit sales tax on the taxable items purchased as well as the service fee.

Example transaction

Vitamin Water (T)$5.00
Bottled Water (NT)$1.50
Loaf of Bread (NT)$3.00
Birthday Candles (T)$3.00
Service fee (T)$2.00
Total$14.50
Tax$0.60
Total with tax $15.10

Sales tax is not imposed on any fee or commission the business charges directly to the restaurant or retailer for facilitating the sale. The restaurant or retailer does not collect sales tax from the business on the cost of the food. Instead, the restaurant or retailer treats it as a sales tax-exempt sale for resale. As evidence of the resale, the business should provide a blanket exemption certificate (REV-1220) to the restaurant, or include it in its contract with the restaurant that it will collect the sales tax directly from the customer.

This example also applies to retailers such as grocery stores, department stores, or drug stores that contract with a business to list its available products on the business’ website.

Example 4

When there is no contract between a restaurant or retailer and the business, but the business provides the same services to its customers, it also must collect the sales tax on customers’ orders. In this situation, however, the business would pay the sales tax to the restaurant or retailer on the cost of the taxable items. Thereafter, the business would take a taxes paid/purchases resold credit against the sales tax it remits to the Department of Revenue, in the amount of sales tax paid to the restaurant or retailer.

This example would also apply to businesses advertising products from grocery stores, department stores, drug stores or other businesses. The business must collect sales tax on the cost of the taxable items and any applicable fees charged to the customer.