Sheetz: Perrier is a ‘soft drink’ subject to sales tax |

Sheetz: Perrier is a ‘soft drink’ subject to sales tax

Stephen Huba
Sheetz Inc.

Sheetz is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges it improperly charged sales tax for nonflavored mineral water sold at two stores in June.

The Altoona-based gas retailer and convenience store chain said the lawsuit has no basis because Sheetz is only a state sales tax collecting agent for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Jennifer Montgomery, of Natrona Heights, filed a class-action complaint against Sheetz in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in June, alleging she was illegally charged a sales tax on nonflavored mineral water that she bought from two Sheetz stores.

The purchases of 16 oz. Perrier were made at a Sheetz store in Sarver, Butler County, on June 1 and one in Pittsburgh on June 14, according to the lawsuit.

Although Pennsylvania has a statewide sales tax of 6%, local variations include a 7% sales tax in Allegheny County. The Pennsylvania tax code exempts food and beverages sold in stores, including nonflavored mineral water, according to the lawsuit.

Because Perrier is carbonated, it is classified as a “soft drink” that is subject to sales tax under Pennsylvania law, Sheetz said in its response.

The lawsuit also charges Sheetz with breach of constructive trust, unjust enrichment and unfair trade practices. It asks the court for an injunction ordering Sheetz to cease charging a sales tax on nonflavored or mineral water and to request a refund from the state Department of Revenue so that customers can be reimbursed.

The case has been assigned to Judge Philip Ignelzi of the Commerce and Complex Litigation Center.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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