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New lawsuit alleges major retailers wrongly charged sales tax on face masks in Allegheny Co.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — A new lawsuit filed in Allegheny County alleges that a long list of major retailers “wrongly charged sales tax on the face masks that Pennsylvanians must purchase before dining out, going to work or sending kids to school.”

The complaint was filed in the common pleas court by East End Trial Group, LLC -- on behalf of Daniel Garcia and others who raised similar concerns.

In total, 15 different retailers were identified in the lawsuit, representing 43 brands. Those retailers are:

  • American Eagle
  • Carter’s
  • Chico’s
  • Express
  • Foot Locker
  • Francesca’s
  • Gabriel Brothers
  • Genesco
  • Hot Topic
  • J.Crew
  • Kohl’s
  • Tapestry
  • The Gap
  • Vera Bradley
  • Walgreens

In the complaint, attorneys argue these retailers disregarded the April ruling that “[p]rotective face masks that are sold at retail are exempt from Pennsylvania sales tax during the emergency disaster declaration issued on March 6, 2020 by Governor Wolf.”

The lawsuit alleges that anyone in Pennsylvania who paid a sales tax on face masks since March 6 is entitled to at least $100 per purchase.

“At a time when 16% of Pennsylvanians were unemployed, these retailers disregarded Pennsylvania’s Department of Revenue and collected sales taxes on facemasks we had to purchase to go to work, attend school, and shop for groceries," said attorney Kevin Tucker. "Through this lawsuit, our client demands an immediate stop to this practice and compensation of at least $100 for every person in Pennsylvania who paid a mask tax.”

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If you purchased a mask from one of those retailers and were charged sales tax, you can petition for a refund with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and contact 617-398-5660 or

Channel 11 did contact American Eagle Outfitters for a comment and a spokesperson responded that the organization does not comment on ongoing litigation. A spokesperson for J.Crew also declined to comment.

A Chico’s spokesperson sent this response: “Chico’s FAS is committed to complying with all laws and regulations in each state in which we operate. While we do not discuss active litigation, we take all customers concerns seriously and are again carefully reviewing the regulations regarding the sale of face masks in Pennsylvania.”

You can view the full complaint that was filed Thursday in the document below: