It’s the 57th year for the Shippensburg Fair, and there’s something new: a 6 percent sales tax on the food. The Department of Revenue hasn’t enforced the tax in past years but is now.
Vendors are concerned this will cut down on sales because they have to pass the tax on to customers, and raise prices. They say it’s an unfair tax because every food vendor at this fair is a nonprofit.
“It’s a big fundraiser for all of them, so it’s really important,” says fair official Jamie Hine. “At the same time it’s one more thing they have to do.”
“We did raise our price to cover the sales tax, and of course a lot of our other ingredients have gone up also,” says Cheyenne Frey of the Church of the Brethren, which makes the the fairs popular “Big Boy” hoagies.
The Cumberland Valley Hose Fire Company says they made about $15,ooo for their volunteer fire company last year and they’ll concerned they won’t be able to make as much this year.
“We had to pass it on to the customer which is unfair to them but that’s what we had to do,” says Chris Helm of the company. “It was a shock to us, out of the blue, as far as we knew it was a law, but all of a sudden they picked on us to do it.”
Agents from the PA Department of Revenue visited the fair last year and decided to begin enforcing the tax. They say it’s state law and they are working to inform vendors at fairs across the state.
This is the statement from the Department of Revenue:
“State law requires that anyone in the business of selling taxable goods must become licensed with the department and collect and remit sales tax. As a matter of tax fairness and to preserve a level playing field among fair vendors and neighboring local brick-and-mortar businesses, the department does outreach to fair vendors informing them of their sales tax obligations and educates them on how to become compliant.” – Elizabeth Brassell, Press Secretary, PA Dept. of Revenue