Product Taxability

What You Need to Know About the Pink Tax and the Tampon Tax

by Kristen Cooper

You might have heard people talking more over the last two years, on the subject of the “pink tax.” But what is it and what does it have to do with the tampon tax?  Are they the same thing or something completely different?  And what do I need to know when it comes to sales tax? If you’re a grocery business, women’s subscription service or eCommerce seller (like LOLA, Cora or Thinx) – this impacts you and your customers.

What is the Pink Tax?

The pink tax is the extra amount that women pay for everyday items such as razors, shampoo, haircuts, clothes, dry cleaning, etc. This is sometimes, but not always, a literal (sales) tax. More often than not, it takes the form of artificially elevated prices that women pay for the same product as men. Take razors for example. Same brand, same 5 blades, same four pack refill. Notice the price difference?

Also, packaging and/or the product itself is usually pink, hence the pink tax moniker.  

The Tampon Tax

One controversial part of the pink tax is known as the tampon tax. This is a regular sales tax that’s applied to an item in a category generally considered “non-luxury necessities,” which are typically exempt from sales tax. Why is it controversial? Almost all U.S. states exempt non-luxury necessities such as groceries or prescriptions from sales tax, and yet almost all states charge tax on menstrual products, including pads and cups – despite that these items are considered a necessity by most women. To make it clear, women’s menstrual products are considered luxury necessities and are taxed as such.

What’s Happening with the Tampon Sales Tax?

The result is an organized push (Period Equity; Tax Free Period) to repeal the tampon tax, to change the law to treat these products like groceries and medical supplies – that they are necessities and should be tax-exempt. Lawmakers in many states are advocating to eliminate the tampon tax. Fourteen states have succeeded so far – Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Ohio, Washington, DC. 

Where Do States Stand?

States that Tax Menstrual Products

Alabama: Currently taxes menstrual products

Arizona: Currently taxes menstrual products

Arkansas: Currently taxes menstrual products

Colorado: Currently taxes menstrual products, except the city of Denver which eliminated the tax.

Georgia: Currently taxes menstrual products

Hawaii: Currently taxes menstrual products

Idaho: Currently taxes menstrual products

Indiana: Currently taxes menstrual products

Iowa: Currently taxes menstrual products

Kansas: Currently taxes menstrual products

Kentucky: Currently taxes menstrual products

Louisiana: Currently taxes menstrual products

Maine: Currently taxes menstrual products

Michigan: Currently taxes menstrual products

Mississippi: Currently taxes menstrual products

Missouri: Currently taxes menstrual products

Nebraska: Currently taxes menstrual products

New Mexico: Currently taxes menstrual products

North Carolina: Currently taxes menstrual products

North Dakota: Currently taxes menstrual products

Oklahoma: Currently taxes menstrual products

South Carolina: Currently taxes menstrual products

Tennessee: Currently taxes menstrual products

Texas: Currently taxes menstrual products

Vermont: Currently taxes menstrual products

Virginia: Currently taxes menstrual products

Washington: Currently taxes menstrual products

West Virginia: Currently taxes menstrual products

Wisconsin: Currently taxes menstrual products

Wyoming: Currently taxes menstrual products

States that Don’t Tax Menstrual Products

Alaska: Doesn’t have a state-wide sales tax. Menstrual products are tax-free.

California: Temporarily tax-free through 2022

Connecticut: Eliminated the tax in 2016

Delaware: Doesn’t have sales tax. Menstrual products are tax-free.

Florida: Eliminated the tax in 2018

Illinois: Eliminated the tax in 2016

Maryland: State sales tax exemption includes feminine hygiene products (considered medical products)

Massachusetts: State sales tax exemption includes feminine hygiene products (considered medical products)

Minnesota: State sales tax exemption includes feminine hygiene products

Montana: Doesn’t have sales tax. Menstrual products are tax-free.

Nevada: Eliminated the tax in 2018

New Hampshire: Doesn’t have sales tax. Menstrual products are tax-free.

New Jersey: State sales tax exemption includes feminine hygiene products

New York: Eliminated the tax in 2016

Ohio: Eliminated the tax in 2019

Oregon: Doesn’t have sales tax. Menstrual products are tax-free.

Pennsylvania: State sales tax exemption includes feminine hygiene products

Rhode Island: Eliminated the tax in 2019

Utah: Exempted the tax in 2019

Washington, DC: Eliminated the tax in 2016

TaxJar can help you manage the nuances of product tax codes by allowing for exemptions and supporting detailed product tax code categories – such as femine hygiene products. Learn more about how we simplify sales tax compliance through automation, integrations and nexus determination. 

Start your 30 day free trial of TaxJar. No credit card required.
AIRPRESS LOADED

Cached Query Manual Filing?filterByFormula=OR({State} = "") needs refreshing in 100