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What Is the Tampon Tax?

Did You Know Most States Tax Tampons as a Luxury Item?

There are two certainties every woman will face in their life: tampons and taxes. But the two together? That's a problem. You may have heard of the "tampon tax" levied on sanitary products by state governments — it's a term that often gets mentioned but rarely explained. Shockingly, 40 states consider tampons to be a "luxury item," which means they are taxed an additional four percent at checkout. What's more alarming is taxing tampons as a "luxury item" suggests tampons are "nonessential." Menstruation is not a choice, but why does the government deem it to be?

A segment of The Daily Show recently broke down why tampons are taxed, as New York state lawmakers are considering a repeal. The show's "senior period correspondent," Michelle Wolf, impeccably mocked the idea that women are "treating themselves" to a tampon. If the proposed New York bill on the issue passes, the state will make tampons completely tax exempt, joining Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. (Note: Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Delaware, and New Hampshire do not have any sales tax.) It's about time all states applying an extra luxury tax reconsider. As the period correspondent points out: "the last time men got so mad about something being taxed, they dumped crates of it into the Boston harbor and started a revolution. If you guys don't change sh*t, we might do the same thing."

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