UPDATE: We did it! Tampon Tax in New York Abolished!
Last year, when we launched our campaign on September 1, 2015, there were only five states which explicitly did not tax tampons: MN, PA, NJ, MA, and MD. New York, shockingly, was not one of these states. As such, we aimed to raise awareness of the unjust tampon tax across the US and support petitions calling for a change in legislation to end the "tampon tax" in New York -- as well as throughout the US. Exactly one year later, on September 1, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that abolished the tampon tax in the state of New York and will provide tampons and pads in all public school middle and high school buildings. As reported by Newsweek on September 6, 2016:
As of this fall, New York City public school students will provide free tampons and pads in all school buildings with sixth through 12th graders. The move is part of the city’s landmark legislation, passed on July 13, 2016, ensuring free menstrual products in all public schools, shelters and correctional facilities. (In July, New York also became the 11th state to eliminate taxes on menstrual products. The new law went into effect on September 1, yet some stores, including a handful of Duane Reade locations in New York City, initially continued to charge the tax. Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted a link to information about how people can reply for a refund.)
In many other states in the United States and globally, some women and girls must choose between buying pads or buying food. The United States has sales taxes that differ state by state, but 39 states out of 50 have a sales tax on menstrual hygiene products, despite the fact that the FDA has ruled that they were a medical device! This means that low-income families struggle with access to menstruation management necessities.
So what can you do? There are many people working to change this. If you live in an area that still has the sales tax on menstrual hygiene management products, then contact your local representative and tell them it’s time to remove the tax!
In Australia, states and territories have decided not to remove an unpopular tax on female sanitary products.
In the UK, a change.org petition called "Stop Taxing Periods. Period." made change after it received over 360,000 supporters, with the Treasury vowing to axe the tax on tampons and pads.
Canada is leading the way in providing tax-free access to tampons and pads. As or July 1, feminine hygiene products — including tampons, pads, and menstrual cups — will no longer be subject to Canada’s five percent “Goods and Services” tax.