Tampon Tax - a positive end

The END of the  ‘Tampon Tax’ or ‘Pink Tax’ (5% VAT on period products) announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his 2020 budget last week is HUGELY positive news for British women.

As Nancy  (CEO & Co-Founder of Mondays) was quoted on the day:

“We are delighted that today’s budget announced plans to finally abolish the ‘tampon tax’. This is a positive step forward for equality and shows that the UK government recognises that period products are a necessity and not a luxury item.”

“Scrapping the tampon tax and opening up the conversation about period products has been a valuable tool in normalising the discussion around periods, which many men and women still shy away from. We still have some way to go in breaking the taboo completely, but today shows excellent progress.”  

Naturally, Mondays will pass on the cost savings to our customers in January 2021, as we did when Germany lowered their long implemented 19% tax (on par with caviar!) to the still unacceptably high 7% (in effect as of January 2020).

We would love to adjust our prices lower for our other customers based around the world.  Currently, under EU laws, tampons and pads are still classed as ‘luxury items’ as opposed to ‘essentials’, yet a woman lives with their period on average for a span of 38 years. Very often those who oppose any cuts in VAT on period products, insist that shaving razors should then in turn also see their VAT rate cut - the fact that viagra is taxed as an ‘essential’ is rarely mentioned by those same parties. A must-read is this fabulously funny, yet to the point, The Times article by Deborah Ross explaining why ‘Periods are not beards’. 

The great news is that the current EU VAT threshold of 5% will be eliminated as of 2022. However, to ensure that VAT cuts on period products actually happen across the EU, we need to keep the pressure on and take further action. The cut in the UK has been seen as the culmination of a TWENTY-year campaign by women’s groups.  Efforts to reduce the menstrual taboo and at the same time outsmart the sales tax in Germany saw menstruation colouring books and a book with tampons hidden in it on sale (as a book ;-)). For books, the reduced tax rate of 7% applied!

The below chart gives an overview of how much women pay in taxes for period supplies. A short comment on it - this chart has been published in May 2019 on Statista and therefore is not yet updated with the recent policy change in Germany.

In Switzerland period products are currently taxed at the ‘standard rate’ of 7.7% along with cars, watches and alcohol. There is a ‘reduced rate’ of tax 2.5% allocated to books, medicines as well as food and non-alcoholic drinks. This means that a bunch of flowers and viagra benefit from a lower VAT rate than period products. The successful campaign by Campax ‘Bloody Unfair- Runter mit der Tampon Tax’ and a motion by the politician Jacque-André Mairie saw the ‘Bundesrat’ finally vote to reduce the rate to 2.5% in 2019, having rejected the motion only two years earlier.  However, the motion still needs to be formally accepted by the other houses in parliament…

Do you know of a campaign in your country supporting lower VAT on period products? Share it with us - we would love to hear from you!