New York legislation to exempt feminine hygiene items from sales tax
The New York State Senate passed legislation on April 11 that would exempt several basic and necessary women’s items from being unfairly taxed. The bill (S6726), sponsored by Senator Susan Serino (R-C-I, Hyde Park), would exempt feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary products from the New York’s sales and compensating use tax
Senator Serino says, “To consider that we exempt cupcakes and circus performances from the sales tax in New York State, but not sanitary napkins and tampons — products women depend on — is beyond comprehension. Today, the Senate took a significant step forward in finally applying common sense to our out-of-touch tax laws. I thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance of this legislation and ensuring its passage this session.”
Currently, medicine, medical equipment, supplies to correct or alleviate physical incapacity, and products consumed by humans for the preservation of health are included in the list of items exempt from the sales and use tax. However, cosmetics and toiletry items are explicitly excluded from the list unless they contain medicinal ingredients. Feminine hygiene products are among those items considered taxable under state law, despite being a necessity for women.
This bill would add sanitary napkins and tampons to the items exempt from retail taxes to make the existing law fairer, especially for women. Several states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have already passed similar legislation to end the so-called “Tampon Tax” and exempt feminine hygiene products from their sales tax.
The bill will be sent to the New York State Assembly. Similar legislation is currently being considered in California, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.