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

tampon tax
(Image credit: 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 (opens in new tab) per year on menstrual products. Just women.

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

Thankfully, organizations like Period Equity (opens in new tab), 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 30 states where it still remains in effect. In June 2019, they introduced a collaboration with LOLA (opens in new tab)—the women-led period and sexual wellness brand—for a coordinated legal, advocacy, and public engagement campaign called, "Tax Free. Period (opens in new tab)." 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 2021.

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.

tampon tax

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

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Alabama

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Alaska

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

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Arizona

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Arkansas

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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California

Effective January 2020, California residents will not have to pay taxes (opens in new tab) on menstrual products until January 2022. However, after the two years, it will need to reconsidered by the governor when determining the state's budget. Currently, there is no permanent law in effect. More here (opens in new tab).

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Colorado

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

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Yellow, Beige,

(Image credit: Future Owns)

Connecticut

Connecticut eliminated the tampon tax in 2016. It was part of the SB 502 (opens in new tab) bill and went into effect on July 1, 2018.

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Delaware

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

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Florida

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

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Georgia

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

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Hawaii

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Idaho

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Illinois

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

Red, Orange, Linens,

(Image credit: Future Owns)

Indiana

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

JOIN THE FIGHT TO REMOVE THE TAMPON TAX (opens in new tab)

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Iowa

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Kansas

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Kentucky

House Rep. Attica Scott filed House Bill 23 (opens in new tab) in January 2019 and pre-filed Bill Request 107 (opens in new tab) in July 2019 to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. It hasn't been considered since.

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Red, Clip art, Logo,

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Louisiana

In May 2019, Senator J.P. Morrell sponsored a bill (opens in new tab) to eliminate the tax on menstrual products. It stalled in the Senate, then was later revived and sent to the House. It hasn't moved since.

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Red, Nose, Clip art,

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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's desk ever since. According to The New York Times, (opens in new tab) she called for a rethink of the entire tax policy.

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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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(Image credit: Future Owns)

Michigan

House Bills 4165 and 4166 (opens in new tab) would exempt these products from taxes, but the legislation hasn't passed yet. In August 2020, with the help of Period Equity, three Michigan women filed a lawsuit (opens in new tab) against the state.

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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 (opens in new tab).

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Mississippi

This state currently taxes menstrual products, and has one of the highest taxes (opens in new tab) in the nation.

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Missouri

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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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, (opens in new tab) was introduced by Senator Megan Hunt in January 2019. It has been indefinitely postponed since August 2020.

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Nevada

Nevada eliminated the tampon tax in 2018, citing (opens in new tab) 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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(Image credit: Future Owns)

New Jersey

New Jersey has exempted feminine napkins and tampons from being taxed, as shown here (opens in new tab).

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New Mexico

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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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 (opens in new tab) when he signed the law into effect. It's also the first state that requires the disclosure of ingredients (opens in new tab) in menstrual products.

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North Carolina

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Red, Orange, Pink, Rectangle, Linens,

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North Dakota

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Yellow, Orange, Beige, Logo,

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Ohio

In October 2019, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a proposal (opens in new tab) repealing Ohio's tampon tax with unanimous support. It later passed through the Senate (opens in new tab). In November 2019, Governor Mike DeWine made it official (opens in new tab).

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Oklahoma

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Yellow, Beige, Linens, Pillow,

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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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(Image credit: Hearst Owned)

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has exempted (opens in new tab) sanitary napkins, tampons, or similar items used for feminine hygiene labeled under the umbrella of paper goods.

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(Image credit: Hearst Owned)

Rhode Island

In February 2019, Rhode Island lawmakers reintroduced a bill (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). 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.

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South Dakota

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Tennessee

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Texas

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Yellow, Beige, Rectangle,

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Utah

This state exempted its tax on menstrual products (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). "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. However, in March 2021, the Vermont Senate passed S.53 (opens in new tab) to remove the tax, which will now move to the House.

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Virginia

In 2019, Virginia lowered the tampon tax (opens in new tab), but has yet to eliminate it. In January 2020, the Virginia Senate unanimously passed SB 231 (opens in new tab) to completely eliminate the tax, but it hasn't moved in the House since.

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Washington

Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5147 (opens in new tab) on April 3, 2020, eliminating the state's tampon tax. It went into effect on July 1, 2020.

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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 (opens in new tab)referring to both tampons and diapers.

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West Virginia

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Wisconsin

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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Wyoming

This state currently taxes menstrual products.

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To stay informed and receive the latest updates on your state's tampon tax, head on over to Period Equity's website (opens in new tab). You can also find a running list of 2021 legislation in progress here (opens in new tab).

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