Why this state dropped their tampon tax

Posted at 11:00 AM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 11:00:58-04

Chicago has joined the fight against sales taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins: Its lawmakers rescinded the city tax on the products and urged the Illinois legislature to drop an even larger state levy.

The Chicago City Council voted unanimously for the measure Wednesday, which dropped a 1.25% city tax. They also are subject to a 6.25% state tax; and 2.15% in other sales taxes.

The Illinois legislature is considering measures to drop the state taxes, though the products would still be subject to the 1% sales tax on virtually everything.

Advocates say that tampons are a necessity, like groceries, which are typically not taxed.

“[Menstruation] is a condition that happens every month for women. It’s not a choice,” said Fiona Ma, a California CPA , advocating a change there as well.

Legislation to drop the taxes is pending in New York, Ohio, Utah and Virginia. A lawsuit has been filed in New York challenging tampon taxes. Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts have already exempted them from taxes.

In Chicago, tampons and sanitary napkins had been classified as “grooming and hygiene” products, subject to a general merchandise tax. They are now classified as “medical appliances,” which are exempt from the higher sales taxes.