The Spanish authorities has introduced its intention to scale back VAT on sanitary towels and tampons within the 2019 finances. Since 2007, European regulation permits a discount to the so-called Tampon Tax, though nations reminiscent of Hungary, Switzerland and Denmark proceed to use a common charge on such merchandise.

In Hungary, girls pay some 27% VAT after they buy sanitary merchandise. In Eire, these identical merchandise are exempt from taxes. Different nations, reminiscent of Spain and France, apply a diminished VAT charge to female hygiene merchandise. In reality, the Spanish authorities has promised to scale back this tax in its 2019 finances, from the present 10% to 4%. Since 2007, when the European Union (EU) allowed nations to amend the so-called Tampon Tax right down to a specified minimal, many nations have opted to take action; others, nonetheless, have saved these female hygiene merchandise in the identical VAT bracket as different merchandise that aren’t primary requirements.

Virtually half of the 28 EU member states proceed to use the usual VAT charge to sanitary towels and tampons, in a bracket utilized to gadgets reminiscent of jewelry, wine, beer and cigarettes. In 10 of those nations, this charge is over 20%: Hungary, at 27%, Croatia, Switzerland and Denmark, at 25%. A comparability of the varied nationwide tax legal guidelines carried out by Civio exhibits that, furthermore, the notorious Tampon Tax is larger than the tax levied on resorts in lots of of those nations.

EU member states are ruled by a directive which solely allows a VAT reduction right down to a minimal of 5% on sanitary merchandise. Most nations have determined to scale back this VAT in recent times, albeit in step with the EU’s minimal charge. Amongst these nations are Spain, Greece and Austria, with a tax of 10% or larger on sanitary merchandise. Additionally on this group are France, with a 5.5% tax, the UK, with 5%, and Eire with 0%. This nation constitutes an exception: Eire’s tampon tax charge was utilized before implementation of the Europe-wide laws for the discount and exemptions of VAT, therefore the 5% minimal just isn’t relevant there.

Within the UK, the lack to additional scale back the tax on sanitary merchandise has solely been a difficulty since 2015. That yr, the British parliament debated whether or not to use a 0% charge to such merchandise. The movement was unsuccessful as a result of neighborhood directive countering it, an argument which was used in favour of Brexit. In its place, the UK parliament determined to allocate a part of the tax collected by way of this Tampon Tax to girls’s assist teams. In complete, £12m was granted to 70 organizations in 2017. Controversy was stoked, nonetheless, when it was reported that one of many NGOs was an anti-abortion group. Scotland, in the meantime, has decided to provide free sanitary towels and tampons to all feminine college students at faculties, schools and universities. This program, whose intention is to battle interval poverty, has an allotted finances of £5.2m.

The European Fee introduced at the start of the year that it meant to amend the EU regulation to supply extra freedom for member states within the matter of adjusting the VAT utilized to sure merchandise, though no date has been proposed for implementation of this. The UK is about to make elimination of the Tampon Tax a actuality, whether or not inside or exterior of the EU.

Spain seems to be to additional scale back Tampon Tax

“It’s clear that by making use of VAT to female hygiene merchandise, this tax impacts solely girls as a social group. Particularly if we keep in mind that these merchandise are primary requirements (lady can not dispense with them) that are straight associated to girls’s well being” concluded a report on taxation and gender carried out by Observatori IQ. The Spanish authorities has introduced its intention to scale back the tax on sanitary towels and tampons from the current 10% to 4% (a particular tax rate often called ‘super-reduced charge’) in its 2019 finances.“It’s excellent news. However is it ok? That’s questionable”, says María De la Fuente, head of Observatori.

A field of standard tampons by the model Tampax, containing 22 gadgets, presently retails for €4.05 in Dia grocery store within the centre of Madrid. The VAT paid on buying this product is 40 cents. With the introduced discount, if the worth stays the identical then the VAT payable on the identical product could be 16 cents, an precise saving for ladies of 24 cents per field. The federal government, for its half, expects an equal lack of revenue of €18 million because of mentioned discount. Whereas this may occasionally appear lots, in truth it doesn’t even quantity to 0.03% of presidency VAT revenue in 2017 from all merchandise.

There may be some debate as as to if this saving will actually be applied and if it is going to include a corresponding improve within the worth of such merchandise. “That is being depicted as a star measure as a result of it’s showy, and the business could be delighted if the VAT on sanitary merchandise had been to be diminished. However to what extent will this discount be handed on to girls?That’s doubtful,” explains María Pazos, head of the road of inquiry into public coverage and gender equality on the Institute of Tax Research. The researcher additionally notes that with such a change, if the worth of sanitary merchandise had been to rise girls wouldn’t profit, somewhat, they might be penalized. “Any discount in tax income penalizes society normally, however girls particularly, as a result of we’re poorer and we want larger social safety”, she states.

What Tampon Tax is utilized in the remainder of the world?

Outdoors Europe, Australia has been the newest nation to resolve to join the club of those that apply 0% VAT to sanitary merchandise, on this case, as of January 2019. Likewise, many nations across the globe have moved to do away with Tampon Tax. The primary was Kenya in 2004, and since then, Canada, India, Malaysia, Uganda, Tanzania, Nicaragua, and Trinidad and Tobago have adopted go well with. Throughout the US, some states have additionally opted to scrap the tax: Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachussetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesotta, New Jersey, Illinois and New York. Furthermore, in New York Metropolis a measure was authorised in 2015 that went a lot additional than simply lowering taxes: all the metropolis’s public faculties should present free sanitary merchandise of their bogs. This metropolis was the primary one to legislate with this objective in US, however the state of New York itself and Illinois adopted the lead and compelled public faculties to supply free sanitary merchandise.

South Africa has additionally come to an identical conclusion as NYC. A panel of specialists has studied whether or not sanitary merchandise must be within the 0% VAT bracket, and whether or not together with them on this bracket would end in much less interval poverty all through the nation. “The info confirmed that making use of 0% tax to sanitary merchandise would solely have a restricted impression on bettering girls’s entry to such merchandise inside low revenue households. The panel recommends that not solely do these merchandise have a 0% VAT charge, however that additionally they be offered freed from cost to girls with such incomes” the committee concludes.

On a world scale, Tampon Tax nonetheless exists and girls are nonetheless paying tax on merchandise which are primary requirements. In nations reminiscent of Iceland, Argentina, Bulgaria, Albania or Moldova, this Tampon Tax is 20% or larger. Ladies in Bosnia, Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and Chile pay between 15 – 19% VAT to buy the sanitary merchandise they want.


To be able to acquire information on the VAT utilized to sanitary merchandise, we used the nationwide regulation on VAT for every nation cited. In Europe’s case, we additionally used data from the European Fee for some nations, in addition to for the comparison with other products. You may entry the sources used to scrape information on the VAT utilized to sanitary merchandise throughout Europe here. To see the related information for the remainder of the world, browse this file. We’ve got withdrawn Malta from our checklist of nations since we couldn’t discover a second supply to substantiate the precise tax. The worth of a field of Tampax was checked on the Dia grocery store on Marques de Modejar road (Madrid) on Saturday 20th October.

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