'Tampon Tax Back' Refunds Offered by Period Care Coalition

A coalition of menstrual product brands offers sales tax refunds on period products in certain states. Here’s how to get yours.

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Period products, including tampons and menstrual pads, are still taxed in twenty-one states. But a group of eight menstrual product industry-leading brands wants to end that. How? With a bold "Tampon Tax Back" campaign that allows purchasers in certain states to get a sales tax refund on some feminine hygiene products.

Launched Oct. 11, the tax refund program draws attention to states that still consider menstrual necessities as "luxury” items for sales tax purposes. Ultimately, the coalition wants to eliminate the so-called “tampon tax” in the United States to help achieve menstrual equity.

Tampon Tax Back Coalition offers refunds

The "tampon tax" has long been a contentious issue in the U.S., with many states imposing sales tax on items like tampons, pads, and menstrual cups, even though those are considered essential products for menstruating people. 

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The Tampon Tax Back Coalition, led by industry brands including August, Cora, Lola, Rael, The Honey Pot, Here We Flo, Saalt, and DIVA, is working to reimburse consumers for state sales tax on menstrual essentials. The initiative is seen by the brand leaders as a step toward ending taxes still imposed on period products in several states.

What is the tampon tax? The "tampon tax" generally refers to the sales tax on menstrual products. These products are often taxed similarly to luxury items rather than being exempt from state sales tax, like other necessities such as medicine.  

  • The tampon tax is a form of  "pink tax." The pink tax is a phenomenon where products traditionally marketed to women are often subject to higher prices than similar products marketed to men. 
  • According to the nonprofit legal advocacy organization Period Law, the tampon tax adds up — to an estimated annual cost to consumers of around $80 million.

In press interviews, Nadya Okamoto, co-founder of August, has highlighted the need to change policies and influence public opinion to pressure legislators. Notable progress has been made by numerous organizations over the last ten years. (Forty-one states once taxed menstrual products, and Texas recently eliminated its tampon tax.)

But many people in the U.S. still need to be made aware of the issue, according to Yanghee Paik, CEO of Rael. Underscoring that point, Beatrice Dixon, CEO of The Honey Pot, has said that she only discovered the "tampon tax" after starting her period care brand.

Tampon tax refund via Venmo, PayPal

Beginning Oct. 11, consumers can reclaim state sales taxes paid on menstrual products from the Tampon Tax Back Coalition. Specifically, customers in states with a tampon tax can get a refund of the sales tax they've paid on eligible items sold by the eight participating brands. 

Customers can visit the coalition's website to receive a refund and initiate a claim within 10 days of their purchase. (You'll need your sales receipts.) The coalition says customers will be refunded via Venmo or PayPal within 24 hours of submission.

Note: Last year, CVS agreed to eliminate the pink tax on its branded menstrual and feminine care products in states where absorbing the tax is allowed.

Which states have a ‘tampon tax’?

Twenty-one states levy standard sales tax on menstrual items, treating tampons and pads as nonessential products. This means those products are subject to the same tax rate as nonessential items. 

States that currently have a “tampon tax” are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Kelley R. Taylor
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

As the senior tax editor at Kiplinger.com, Kelley R. Taylor simplifies federal and state tax information, news, and developments to help empower readers. Kelley has over two decades of experience advising on and covering education, law, finance, and tax as a corporate attorney and business journalist.