Lawsuit: Sheetz charged sales tax for bottled water |
Valley News Dispatch

Lawsuit: Sheetz charged sales tax for bottled water

Stephen Huba
Sheetz Inc.

A Natrona Heights woman is accusing Sheetz of enriching itself by improperly charging a sales tax on bottled water.

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

The purchases were made at a Sheetz store in Sarver, Butler County, on June 1 and one in Pittsburgh on June 14, according to the lawsuit filed on June 26.

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.

Charging a sales tax on exempt items would allow a business to receive a “commission” of taxes improperly charged or collected, the lawsuit said.

“By its improper conduct, defendant Sheetz has converted and/or misappropriated funds belonging to plaintiff Montgomery and the other members of the class in an amount not yet known, but believed to exceed several million dollars,” the lawsuit said.

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 Pennsylvania Department of Revenue so that customers can be reimbursed.

Sheetz spokesman Nick Ruffner could not be reached for comment.

Montgomery is being represented by Pittsburgh attorney Frank G. Salpietro.

Founded in 1952 in Altoona, Sheetz operates more than 585 stores in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina.

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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