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Pennsylvania criminalizes sales tax zappers


 Remember when you couldn't plug a flash drive into cash registers?

In all states with a sales tax, it’s against the law for retailers to not collect and remit applicable sales tax. Increasingly, however, states are enacting legislation that criminalizes the use of automated sales suppression devices, also called tax zappers or phantomware. Sales suppression devices are illegal in South Dakota as of March 10, 2016, and in Pennsylvania as of July 13, 2016.

Under HB 1198, “Any person who, for commercial gain, sells purchases, installs, transfers, or possess [in Pennsylvania] an automated sales suppression device or zapper or phantomware with the knowledge that the sole purpose of the device is to defeat or evade the determination of an amount due” faces imprisonment and/or a fine. Anyone found guilty of such an offense is also liable for all unpaid taxes, plus any interest and penalties due. See the text of the bill for additional details, and click here for more information about sales suppression devices.

Instead of trying to avoid sales and use tax, businesses should strive to collect and remit the correct amount of tax for every transaction. Sales tax software-as-a-service facilitates compliance in all state. Learn how it works.


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.