Over the aftermost two years, a cardinal of states accept advised bills to absolved tampons and added feminine hygiene articles from their sales tax bases. Supporters of “tampon tax” aition bills altercate that women face an abuse back affairs these call items, but that altercation doesn’t authority water. First, it’s absolutely inaccurate—no accompaniment capacity tampons to a appropriate or different tax. Second, the solution—exempting tampons and added feminine hygiene articles from the sales tax—violates the attempt of complete tax policy. Ideally, sales taxes should tax all final customer purchases, after attention to whether items are classified as aliment or luxuries.
Exempting feminine hygiene articles from the sales tax abject after-effects in beneath acquirement for the state, arch to college all-embracing ante in the continued run.
An ideal sales tax should administer to all final customer purchases, after attention to whether items are classified as “necessities” or “luxuries.” Sales taxes “should administer to all burning expenditures… at a compatible rate.”
First, this allows for the everyman accessible rate. The broader the base, the lower the bulk can be to achieve a accustomed bulk of revenue. Second, a ample sales tax does not alter preferences or assembly beyond items or services. Third, it does not favor one blazon of burning over another, acceptation that a customer does not accept to accept amid one account that is burdened against accession account that isn’t taxed.
While ideally, the sales tax should administer to all final customer purchases of appurtenances and services, states accept exempted abounding goods, such as advantage and decree drugs, from their sales tax base, in abounding cases for political reasons. Sales taxes, as activated to goods, tend to be beheld as regressive. Low-income households as a accepted aphorism absorb added of their assets on burning than advantageous households do, and so a tax on burning like a sales tax tends to beset added of this group’s spending as a allotment of their income.
However, this abstraction of exempting aliment is a political one, not an bread-and-er one. “Most [exemptions] achieve little in the agreement of accepted standards of taxation. Unfortunately, there is a addiction in some states to add exemptions, one by one, in every aldermanic session, generally with complications for operation of the tax and little accretion in agreement of principle.”
Viewed through this lens, attempts to absolved feminine hygiene articles from the sales tax are allotment of a broader trend in sales tax action against a absorption tax base.
During the aftermost two years, a cardinal of states accept advised removing feminine hygiene articles from their sales tax bases. In some cases, arguments accept focused on disinterestedness concerns, arguing that feminine hygiene articles are aliment and should be exempt.
There are 12 states area feminine hygiene articles are not burdened beneath a state’s sales tax. Five states—Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, and Oregon—do not accept sales tax. Seven states accurately absolved feminine hygiene products—Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
In some states, such as Maryland and Massachusetts, feminine hygiene articles are absolved because they are advised medical products. In added states, they are accurately exempted, acceptation tampons (or feminine hygiene products) are abundant in statute as actuality exempt. Pennsylvania, for instance, exempts “toilet paper, germ-free napkins, tampons, or agnate items acclimated for feminine hygiene.” Typically, the approved accent is ample abundant to accommodate a cardinal of feminine hygiene products, not aloof tampons.
The District of Columbia will absolved tampons from the sales tax starting on October 1, 2017, and Connecticut’s absolution will alpha July 1, 2018.
Of the states that absolved tampons or added feminine hygiene articles from their sales tax, three states (Connecticut, Illinois, and New York) and the District of Columbia adopted their exemptions in 2016. At atomic 10 added states advised such proposals.
It is account acquainted that some arguments apropos the taxation of feminine hygiene articles assume to imply that tampons are accountable to a specific blazon of tax. That is not correct. In no accompaniment are tampons accountable to a appropriate or different tax, or a “tampon tax.” Rather, the catechism is whether feminine hygiene articles are included in a state’s sales tax base. Traditionally, we don’t discus sales tax as actuality a tax on a specific item, as it is misleading.
In accession to all of the arguments apropos complete sales tax policy, states should additionally be afraid to absolved items such as feminine hygiene articles from their sales tax abject because they abide to abrade the acquirement abundance of these taxes. As the sales tax abject gets smaller, states charge accession tax ante on the actual items to achieve the aforementioned bulk of revenue.
In 2016, California advised a bill to aish feminine hygiene articles from its sales tax base. The California Board of Equalization estimated that California would lose $20 actor in accompaniment and bounded acquirement from this one change. New York estimated that it would lose $10 actor in acquirement from its feminine hygiene exemption. While these exemptions are a baby allotment of California’s and New York’s absolute accompaniment and bounded revenues, the absolution of feminine hygiene articles is allotment of a broader trend to abide to compress the state’s sales tax base. Over time, these baby changes advance to ample losses of revenue.
This is decidedly adverse for the exact acumen why proponents advance exempting feminine hygiene products: they are aliment for some individuals. Added items that are still included in the sales tax abject could be “necessities” for added individuals. Exempting one account from the sales tax abject puts all the actual items at accident of a college rate. Unfortunately, this is the accommodation that exists aural sales taxes. Moves to absolved items from the sales tax abject are moves to tax the actual appurtenances (and sometimes services) at a college rate.
Advocates abide to advance states to aish feminine hygiene articles from their accompaniment sales tax bases, calling the sales taxation a “tampon tax.” Tampons and added feminine hygiene articles are not accountable to a appropriate or different tax in any state. Currently, 12 states do not accommodate feminine hygiene articles in their sales tax abject for a array of reasons, but moves to absolved these appurtenances from taxation breach the attempt of complete sales tax policy.
 John F. Due and John L. Mikesell, Sales Taxation: Accompaniment and Bounded Structure and Administration, (Washington, D.C., Urban Institute Press, 1994), 2nd ed., 15.
 Due and Mikesell absolutely point out that for abounding bread-and-er efficiency, the bulk wouldn’t be uniform, but rather inelastically accepted appurtenances would accept a college bulk than those with adaptable demands, but it is too difficult to absolutely apperceive the elasticities of appeal for every product. Beneath this argument, aliment would absolutely be burdened at a college bulk than affluence goods.
 John F. Due and John L. Mikesell, Sales Taxation: Accompaniment and Bounded Structure and Administration, (Washington, D.C., Urban Institute Press, 1994), 2nd ed., 9.
 Ibid, 88.
 Alaska and Montana accept some bounded sales taxes.
 The California assembly anesthetized a bill in 2016 to aish feminine hygiene articles from their sales tax base, but Governor Jerry Brown (D) banned the measure.
 Comptroller of Maryland, “Taxability of Medical Equipment,” Bulletin 01-1, March 2001, http://taxes.marylandtaxes.com/Resource_Library/Tax_Publications/Tax_Bulletins/Sales_and_Use_Tax_Bulletins/su_bul01-1.pdf.
 Massachusetts Department of Revenue, “A Guide to Sales and Use Tax,” http://www.mass.gov/dor/individuals/taxpayer-help-and-resources/tax-guides/salesuse-tax-guide.html#home.
 Pennsylvania Code, P.L. 97 No. 22 §9.2(4).
 These states are California, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
 Julia Craven, “GOP Governor Brings Illinois Into the 21st Century By Nixing Antiquated Tampon Tax,” The Huffington Post, August 21, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/illinois-tampon-tax_us_57ba0bdbe4b0b51733a4267d.
 California Assembly Committee on Acquirement and Taxation, Assembly Bill 1561 Bill Analysis, March 31, 2016, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1561#.
 Governor Andrew Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Absolved Sales and Use Taxes on Feminine Hygiene Products,” July 21, 2016, https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-legislation-exempt-sales-and-use-taxes-feminine-hygiene-products.
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