Taxation on tampons is probably not something you think about frequently. Your period comes, you go to the store and buy your pads or tampons and move on with your day. But, what if you did think about it? Isn’t it strange that supplies to manage your period are taxed, when other necessary items like groceries, health and medical products are not? Let’s talk a little about the tampon tax and what you can do to make a real change to this discriminatory practice.
A man can get a prescription for Viagra tax free, which is not necessary for basic hygiene and yet women all over the US are taxed a percentage on something that is an arguable necessity. You can buy bandages and dressings tax free for wounds, to stop blood flow from an injury so why not products to stop blood flow from your menstrual cycle?
Tampons, pads and menstrual cups have always been taxed and a big question to ask is why? Well, the answer, plain and simple, is money. When California temporarily repealed the sales tax on feminine products in 2019, it was estimated that the state would lose upwards of 20 million dollars a year in annual taxes. Now, that’s not an insignificant amount of money, but it’s on something that by all logic, shouldn’t be taxed at all.
It just doesn’t make sense. Menstruation is a normal bodily function that approximately half of the world’s population experiences. You deserve to be able to purchase products to manage this function without paying additional money in taxes. It especially burdens women in lower income brackets and may cause them to miss school or work because of an inability to afford a basic hygiene necessity, causing even more financial stress. It’s wrong and needs to end.
As of right now, eleven states have dropped the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New York
California has also repealed the taxation of feminine products but it’s only for the two year duration of their established budget. Many federal assistance programs do not approve the use of funds to purchase feminine products in all states.
Now, it’s great that those states have exempted feminine products from being taxed, but what about the other states? And of course, the bigger question, what can YOU do about it? You can reach out to your state legislators by writing a letter or contacting their social media. Let them know that the tax on necessary hygiene products is discriminatory to women and demand change.
All they’re seeing right now is the dollar signs but this issue is about something bigger than money, it’s about basic human rights. You have the right to have a hygienic period every month and your financial situation should not be a barrier to that. So, speak up, write a letter or tweet your local politicians so we can end this now. It’s time to end the tampon tax.