The Current State of the Tampon Tax—and How We're Going to Eliminate It

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Design by Morgan McMullen

In states like Alabama and Texas, you can grab a Snickers bar from a vending machine tax-free, but when women need to purchase a tampon or pad—for a routine bodily function that often causes pain, discomfort, and prohibits many of us from attending work or school—these items are not considered "necessities of life," and are therefore taxed. Because of this tax, women in the United States are estimated to spend an additional $150 million per year on menstrual products. Just women.

If men got their period, would we still be having this conversation?

Thankfully, organizations like Period Equity, a national law and policy advocacy group dedicated to ensuring accessible, affordable, and safe menstrual products, are working to remove the tampon tax in the 33 states where it still remains in effect. This summer, they introduced a collaboration with LOLA—the female-led period and sexual wellness brand—for a coordinated legal, advocacy, and public engagement campaign called, "Tax Free. Period." Together, the groups are raising awareness for the unconstitutional state laws in place, and aim to ensure all period products tax-free by Tax Day 2020.

So which states still have a tax on menstrual products and which states have eliminated it? Find out the status where you live, along with how you can take action and help fight for menstrual equality, via our handy guide, below.

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Alabama

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Alaska

This state doesn't have sales tax to begin with, therefore menstrual products are tax-free.


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Arizona

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Arkansas

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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California

California's tax-free tampons are only temporary, so we're technically not considering it a tax-free state. A tampon bill was proposed in 2016, but it failed, the same happened again in 2018 and 2019. In May, Governor Gavin Newsom announced he would create a tax exemption through the state budget rather than propose a bill. The exemption will only last from 2020–2022.

“We can afford to do that and it’s the right thing to do,” Newsom told The Los Angeles Times in May. He continues to face criticism for it.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Colorado

The city of Denver has eliminated the tampon tax, but a similar measure in the state legislature was postponed indefinitely in 2017.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Connecticut

Connecticut eliminated the tampon tax in 2016. It was part of the S 502 bill and went into effect on July 1, 2018.


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Delaware

This state doesn't have sales tax to begin with, therefore menstrual products are tax-free.


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Florida

In 2017, Governor Rick Scott created a $180 million tax cut package, which included eliminating the tampon tax in Florida. It went into effect January 2018.


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Georgia

State Rep. Debbie Buckner introduced a bill in January 2019 to remove the tax, but instead the state decided to provide free menstrual products to people in low-income schools and communities. It's a great first step, but we can do better.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Hawaii

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Idaho

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner repealed the tampon tax in 2016, which is stated in SB 2746. Tampons and pads were originally taxed as "luxury items" ...I'll leave that right there.


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Indiana

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Iowa

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Kansas

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Kentucky

House Rep. Attica Scott filed House Bill 23 in January and pre-filed Bill Request 107 in July to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. It will be considered when session resumes in January.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Louisiana

In May, Senator J.P. Morrell sponsored a bill to eliminate the tax on menstrual products. It stalled in the Senate, then was later revived and sent to the House. If passed, it will go into effect in 2021.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Maine

In 2018, a bill was pushed forward by Maine's House and Senate for a sales tax exemption on feminine hygiene products, but it has been sitting on Governor Janet Mills' desk ever since. According to The New York Times, she called for a rethink of the entire tax policy.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Maryland

Maryland's sales tax exemption includes feminine hygiene products, as it considers them medical products.


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Massachusetts

Massachusetts' sales tax exemption includes feminine hygiene products, as it considers them medical products.


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Michigan

The Tax Policy Committee of Michigan House Committee recently held a hearing about the state's tampon tax. House Bills 4165 and 4166, currently in motion, would exempt these products from taxes.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Minnesota

Minnesota's law exempts a wide range of hygienic products from sales tax—even outside of the menstrual realm, like breast pumps and wheelchairs. You can see exactly what those are here.


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Mississippi

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Missouri

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Montana

This state doesn't have sales tax to begin with, therefore menstrual products are tax-free.


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Nebraska

Nebraska's tampon tax bill, LB 170, was introduced by Senator Megan Hunt in January 2019. The committee took no immediate action on the bill, but it can be voted on in 2020. All eyes will be on Senator Lou Ann Linehan, the revenue committee chairperson.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Nevada

Nevada eliminated the tampon tax in 2018, citing that it placed an unfair burden on women.


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New Hampshire

This state doesn't have sales tax to begin with, therefore menstrual products are tax-free.


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New Jersey

New Jersey has exempted feminine napkins and tampons from being taxed, as shown here.


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New Mexico

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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New York

New York eliminated the tampon tax in 2016. "This is a regressive tax on essential products that women have had to pay for far too long and lifting it is a matter of social and economic justice," Governor Andrew Cuomo stated when he signed the law into effect. It's also the first state that requires the disclosure of ingredients in menstrual products. The law will go into effect January 2020.


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North Carolina

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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North Dakota

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Ohio

In October, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a proposal repealing Ohio's tampon tax with unanimous support. It later passed through the Senate. In November, Republican Governor Mike DeWine made it official.


Oklahoma

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Oregon

This state doesn't have sales tax to begin with, therefore menstrual products are tax-free.


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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has exempted sanitary napkins, tampons, or similar items used for feminine hygiene labeled under the umbrella of paper goods.


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Rhode Island

In February, Rhode Island lawmakers reintroduced a bill in the House to eliminate the tampon tax. Democratic Rep. Edith Ajello and Democratic Sen. Louis DiPalma originally filed the bill in 2016, but had no success. The repeal of the tampon tax was officially passed in the FY 2020 budget. It was signed by Governor Gina Raimondo and went into effect on October 1, 2019.


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South Carolina

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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South Dakota

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Tennessee

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Texas

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Utah

This state exempted its tax on menstrual products in December 2019. "The Utah legislature's willingness to end the tampon tax is also an acknowledgment of another stark reality: Neither Utah nor any other state can defend what amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination," Jennifer Weiss-Wolf and Emily Bell McCormick told Newsweek. "And state leaders are wise to avoid the expense of being taken to court."


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Vermont

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Virginia

This year, Virginia lowered the tampon tax, but has yet to eliminate it.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Washington

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Washington, D.C.

D.C. removed its tampon tax in 2016. The initiative was led by D.C. Councilmember Anita Bonds. "Women should not be taxed because they are women, nor should babies be taxed for being babies," Bonds stated at the time, according to The Post, referring to both tampons and diapers.


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West Virginia

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Wisconsin

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX


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Wyoming

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

SIGN A LEGAL DECLARATION TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX

To stay informed and receive the latest updates on your state's tampon tax, head on over to Period Equity's website.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Kentucky and Nebraska currently have no bills in progress to eliminate the tampon tax. This is false—a bill request has been pre-filed and LB 170 was introduced in January 2019, respectively.


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