If you’re selling digital services and products to customers in Pennsylvania, then you might be liable for the state’s sales tax. This guide covers helps you with:
The 12-step process of how to register for Pennsylvania sales tax online, and
How to file sales tax returns in Pennsylvania on time
We’ve scoured the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website to provide you with all the necessary information about sales tax for businesses in one place.
How do I register for sales tax in Pennsylvania?
Remote sellers can register online for sales tax in Pennsylvania (PA) through an account with e-Signature, an online tax portal. This portal is also where you’ll file and pay your tax returns. More on that later!
2. On the next screen, scroll down until you see the registration option for new users. Click “Register” to create a User ID and Password.
3. Once you’ve created a UserID and password, then you’ll enter various personal details, from location and contact information to your mother’s maiden name (which we assume is for security purposes).
Note: If you’re located outside of the US, simply fill out the City and Country fields normally. Then you can select “UNKNOWN” as your State territory.
4. Then you’ll see a confirmation screen with instructions to check your email. In your email, you’ll find a confirmation code that you must use to log into your new account for the first time.
5. When you’re ready, click Login. You’ll use your credentials and then immediately see a screen that asks for the confirmation code from your email. Click the button next to “Enter Confirmation Code,” put the code in the field, and submit.
6. Now you can move on to registering your business for sales tax!
Register for a sales tax permit
The next step is to register for a sales tax permit. This form is called the Online Business Entity Registration (PA100) and is very thorough!
Before you begin, have this information handy:
Your Social Security number (if registering as a sole proprietor with no employees)
Rough estimates of how your revenue is split across products
The names of the Pennsylvania counties where your customers live
Register for a seller’s permit
1. After logging into e-Signature, select “Create Application.”
2. Answer standard questions about your business operations, including when you started selling in Pennsylvania.
Note: If you need help at any point, simply click the “Help” button in the bottom left of the form, and you’ll see guidelines or explanations of each question in the section.
3. When it’s time to enter your business location, international businesses must make a couple specific selections. In the County field, select “Out of State,” and in State, select “UNKNOWN.”
4. A couple more screens about physical location follow. If you want to repeat the same address you provided first, then select it from the dropdown option at the top of the form. This will save you some data entry!
5. On the final screen of Business Entity Information, out-of-state sellers can fill out the fields like so:
6. Finally you’re onto the tax services portion! Select “Sales, Use, Hotel Occupancy Tax License” and continue.
7. You’ll enter lots of personal details about yourself, the person authorizing the registration (which is likely also yourself), and other owners of the business. This includes your Social Security Number.
8. As for your business activity, select however many boxes describe your industry or what you sell:
9. In the next screen, expand your selections to reveal even more specific examples of business activity. Again, select however many boxes you need to accurately describe your business.
Here’s a guide that could help you out!
ECommerce businesses will likely need to select the following formation:
SaaS businesses should select:
Digital consultants likely want to select various things from the Professional and Technical Services section:
10. Estimate how much of your sales come from the various business activities and products you’ve selected.
11. Select all counties in Pennsylvania where you’re conducting taxable sales (where your customers live), including “Out of State.”
12. At the very end, you’ll have a chance to review all the information you’ve provided and make sure it’s correct. Then, finally, you can submit! You’re done!
The website doesn’t state how long you should expect to wait, but if you have any questions, simply login and contact customer support.
Once your application is reviewed and approved, you should receive a seller’s permit and Business Tax ID.
You’ll also be assigned a tax filing frequency: monthly, quarterly, or semiannually.
How do I file sales tax returns in Pennsylvania?
Sales and taxes should be reported and filed using US dollars. If you’ve made any transactions in Pennsylvania in a different currency, be sure to convert those to USD using official currency exchange rates.
When to file and pay
You must file a sales tax return either monthly, quarterly, or semiannually. The deadlines are as follows:
Monthly For monthly filers, reports are due on the 20th day of the month following the reporting month. For example, the July sales tax report is due August 20.
Quarterly For quarterly filers, reports are due on the 20th day of the month following the reporting period.
April 20, for first quarter ending March 31
July 20, for second quarter ending June 30
October 20, for third quarter ending September 30
January 20, for fourth quarter ending December 31
Semiannual filers get an extra month before their deadline, but the due date is always the 20th of the month.
August 20, for the first half of the year
February 20, for the second half of the year
Note: Didn’t make any sales in Pennsylvania during your reporting period? You should still report that. This is often called a “zero return” and it follows the exact same process as a normal return. (Just a little less data entry 😉)
How to file returns in Pennsylvania
Before you get started, you should collect all the information about your taxable sales in Pennsylvania during the previous quarter. The tax website suggests having these pieces ready:
total sales and income
total purchases and expenses
You can file the return online using e-TIDES, a system connected with your registration process. Log in with that same User ID and password here.
How to pay sales tax in Pennsylvania
Tax payments must be made electronically and in US dollars. You can pay directly at the time of filing in e-TIDES.
Payment options include:
Electronic funds transfer (EFT)
Credit or debit card: American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Discover
What to do in between registering and filing?
So, you’ve learned how to register & file taxes online in Pennsylvania. Now you must comply with all the rules for Pennsylvania sales tax! That means charging 6% sales tax and watching out for local level taxes, among other things.
* At Quaderno we love providing helpful information and best practices about taxes, but we are not certified tax advisors. For further help, or if you are ever in doubt, please consult a professional tax advisor or the Tax Agency.
Do you have your tax processes 100% under control?