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Dems: No sales taxes on COVID tests

On the left, Rep. Joe Ciresi attends a House Education Committee public hearing to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on school institutions and students. On the right, Rep. Melissa Shusterman speaks during a news conference.

Legislation has been introduced to exempt at-home COVID-19 tests from state sales taxes.

House Bill 2327 is sponsored by Reps. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, and Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. The legislation has been referred to the state Finance Committee and has 12 fellow Democrats as co-sponsors.

“As the pandemic rages on, we need all the tools in our arsenal to fight the virus,” Ciresi said. “By exempting at-home COVID-19 tests from the sales tax, we can help our residents and improve access to convenient diagnostic testing by removing this financial barrier. These tests are vital to public health and should not be taxed when Pennsylvanians are fulfilling their duty to their neighbors by testing themselves for the virus.”

New York does not subject at-home COVID tests to sales taxes. Rep. Holly Cheeseman, a Republican in the Connecticut House of Representatives, has introduced legislation in Connecticut to repeal the state sales tax on COVID-19 at-home tests while similar legislation has also been filed recently in Massachusetts by Republican state Rep. Marc Lombardo.

“A friend recently made me aware that at-home COVID tests are subject to sales tax in (Massachusetts) and this is wrong,” Lombardo said in a January Tweet. “At a time where frequent testing in recommended, (Massachusetts) should not be charging residents a sales tax.”

On the left, Rep. Joe Ciresi attends a House Education Committee public hearing to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on school institutions and students. On the right, Rep. Melissa Shusterman speaks during a news conference.

The Internal Revenue Service recently reminded taxpayers that the cost of home testing for COVID-19 is an eligible medical expense that can be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs) because the cost to diagnose COVID-19 is an eligible medical expense for tax purposes.

Ciresi and Shusterman said the tests are vital to Pennsylvanian’s health and shouldn’t be taxed.

“Accessing at-home COVID-19 tests allows people to quickly get results so they do not put others at risk,” Shusterman said. “These important medical devices should be exempt from sales tax because they serve the greater good of the community.”

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