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Should Hygiene Products Be Free, Tax Exempt?

by Countable | 3.26.18

UPDATE: March 26, 2018: Three states - Nebraska, Virginia, and Arizona - have introduced legislation aimed at exempting menstrual products from sales tax.

  • Nine states have ended the so-called "tampon tax" and seven have introduced legislation to do the same.

  • Thousands of health and personal care items are exempt from sales tax in many U.S. states, including toilet paper, diapers, ChapStick, and dandruff shampoo.

Do you support legislation to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

Countable's original story appears below.


What’s the story?

Lawmakers from across the country from the local, state and federal levels have begun discussing affordable access to feminine hygiene products as a matter of gender equity. As a result, new legislation is popping up across the country to address this growing movement.

Why does it matter?

The Washington Post reports that the grassroots movement for "menstrual equity" is being “fueled by thousands of women who are intimately familiar with the anxiety and embarrassment that comes from not having a tampon or pad when they need one.” Lawmakers are taking note and joining the movement.

The most expansive legislative push has been to prohibit the application of sales tax to feminine hygiene purchases. Forty states tax these products and two dozen are now considering legislation to change that. New York, Illinois, Connecticut and Florida recently approved sales-tax exemptions. Chicago and D.C. also approved exemptions within city limits, but the D.C. City Council didn’t cover the annual $3.3 million sales tax shortfall that would result, so for now the sales tax stays in place.

Critics of the sales tax exemption laws say they are unwarranted, impractical, and deprive government of necessary revenue for providing services.

At the national level, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced the Menstrual Equity for All Act in February that would also require large companies to provide free products in workplace restrooms. Additionally, four Democratic senators— Cory Booker (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Richard J. Durbin (IL) and Kamala D. Harris (CA), co-sponsored a bill to require prisons to provide adequate and free menstrual products to inmates.

Colorado already passed a measure to provide these products for inmates incarcerated in state facilities. Similarly, the New York City Council passed legislation in 2016 requiring that free tampons and pads be provided in all public schools, shelters and jails.

What can you do?

Do you support legislation to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax? Do you support legislation to mandate menstrual products be provided to vulnerable populations— students, inmates and the homeless?

Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

—Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Pixabay / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(361)
  • Jeanne
    08/09/2017
    ···

    Yes. All these products are necessary not luxury items and so are diapers and OTC birth control. They all need to be tax free. If big companies can have massive tax breaks, the average person should have them for necessary items.

    Like (196)
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  • Karen
    08/09/2017
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    Yes I support this. Don't forget the seniors who use Depends, Tena, & Poise. They shouldn't tax the seniors & women for tampons, Kotex, Poise, Depend & Tena.

    Like (114)
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  • M
    08/10/2017
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    If men had periods and needed tampons there would be no discussion about this issue.

    Like (114)
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  • Jamie
    08/09/2017
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    All feminine hygiene products need to be tax-free, this does not need to be a question. They should have been long ago.

    Like (92)
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  • Tammy
    08/09/2017
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    Yes! Look at all the discounts for viagra for heavens sake!!

    Like (77)
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  • Thelma
    08/09/2017
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    Being a woman comes with taxes of all kinds. It's time we stopped charging women more for being women. I am absolutely in favor of making feminine hygiene product free, completely free, and tax exempt.

    Like (67)
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  • Adam
    08/10/2017
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    Feminine hygiene products should absolutely be tax-free.However, the government does not have the right to make laws forcing workplaces to provide free hygiene products...

    Like (45)
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  • The-science-man
    08/09/2017
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    These products are a necessity for women and should never be taxed! In fact these products should even be subsidized in cost by the government for women to improve access to these necessary hygiene products.

    Like (45)
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  • Nicole
    08/09/2017
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    Please support these tax exemptions. These are necessary items, not a luxury.

    Like (35)
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  • wedensmore
    08/09/2017
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    Yes. These products are use for personal hygiene and should be exempt from taxation and tax deductible.

    Like (26)
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  • Osprey4356
    08/09/2017
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    Good grief. Do we have to legislate every single thing? This is ridiculous. We are not a Nanny State. These things cost money to make. They should not be free for goodness sake. Tax exempt maybe, but free? No

    Like (25)
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  • Susan
    08/09/2017
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    Yes and so should food products. Both are necessary to live and should not be taxed

    Like (23)
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  • AlexaB
    08/09/2017
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    YES, especially when men have viagra free of tax... that is insane

    Like (21)
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  • OlderNWiser
    03/26/2018
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    Absolutely hygiene products should be tax-free. Women in Africa cannot go to school for lack of these products for several days every month. Is that what we want for American women?

    Like (17)
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  • Matii
    03/26/2018
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    Women should not be taxed for having a menstrual cycle nor should they have to suffer the indignity of being unable to afford feminine hygiene products at that time of the month.

    Like (14)
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  • Sarah
    08/10/2017
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    Yes! These are not luxury items or optional for most girls and women. I’ve seen several girls put their safety and life at risk from TSS because they can’t afford to use any more than 2 tampons per day. If not free, they should absolutely be tax exempt as it’s for reproductive health and hygiene, not a choice beauty product.

    Like (13)
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  • Akila
    08/10/2017
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    Yes - products such as tampons, pads, baby diapers, and adult diapers should be tax free at the very least (if not completely free). These products should also be available for free for homeless people. I also think we need to take a huge step towards producing more biodegradable and eco-friendly versions of these products (and offer tax exemptions or discounts as incentives for buying them).

    Like (11)
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  • Matthew.hamrick
    08/09/2017
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    If they are necessary, they should be free.

    Like (9)
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  • April
    08/10/2017
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    These should be tax free, because, like food, for women these are necessities, not options.

    Like (8)
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  • Kathleen
    08/10/2017
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    Feminine hygiene products should be tax free because they are a necessity and not a luxury item. They are NOT optional. This tax free status should apply to depends for seniors, baby diapers etc.,

    Like (8)
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