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By Denver Nicks
March 18, 2016
Money raised by a U.K. tax on sanitary products was used to fund an anti-abortion charity.
Money raised by a U.K. tax on sanitary products was used to fund an anti-abortion charity.
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This week, two major legislative bodies—the Chicago City Council and the New York State Assembly—voted to nix the so-called “tampon tax,” reclassifying feminine hygiene products as medically necessary and thus exempt from sales taxes.

If the the New York law passes in the state’s GOP controlled Senate, where it is expected to meet little opposition, New York will become the sixth state to exempt feminine hygiene products from taxes on the grounds that they are medical necessities. The others are Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and New Jersey, while five other states—Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Alaska—have no state sales tax.

The Chicago vote will remove the city’s additional 1.25% sales tax on tampons, but that doesn’t mean taxes will be dropped entirely. They will still be taxed at the state level, at a rate of 6.25%.

The news is part of a growing international movement to eliminate sales and luxury taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products, which are often not exempted from taxes like many other necessities are. In the United States, for example, 10 states exempt both soda and candy from taxes on the grounds that they are groceries but still tax tampons.

While some progress is being made on the issue, many states are still clinging to the taxing of feminine hygiene products. A measure that would have banned taxes on such products was recently rejected in Utah. On the other hand, it appears that an agreement was reached this week in the United Kingdom to get rid of the tampon tax.

While many are applauding efforts to stop taxing feminine hygiene products, others think such a step doesn’t go far enough. This week Slate called attention to the movement arguing that tampons should be covered by food stamps and medicaid as a way to alleviate what many see as a particularly regressive tax and undue burden placed on low-income women, since tampons are hardly not a necessity. In other words, the campaign calls for tampons to not only be tax-free, but free-free.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

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Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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