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Should there be a ‘tampon tax’?

09 May 2016

The EU leaders recently agreed to allow its member states to remove VAT on sanitary products after protests from the UK and France.

So, how does it work elsewhere?

Taxing sanitary products has become a contentious issue, and the campaign to remove tax on these products has been led by the UK. It has become almost a global movement.

Time magazine recently took a look at what happens in other countries.

In July 2015 the government removed all taxes, including the 5% goods and services tax (GST) on all feminine hygiene products. This was after 75,000 people who signed a petition against the idea these were ‘luxury’ items.

Sanitary products have been subject to a 10% GST since 2000. There have been protests against the levy, which does not apply to condoms or sunscreen. A chance to remove the tax was lost after state and territory treasurers failed to remove it at a meeting in August 2015.

A day before the EU decision Chicago repealed a city tax on tampons and other sanitary products. It urged Illinois state to join the five other states that have dropped the sales tax on them completely. New York is following suit. Some 40 states still apply sales taxes to these products.

A new GST had women paying an additional 6% on sanitary products. A parliamentary debate on the idea of exemption reportedly drew laughter from some politicians.

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