Tampon Tax: Is It That Big Of A Deal?

October 29, 2015 0 By Bethanie

As everyone is aware, a few days ago the House of Lords voted against abolishing the taxation on women’s sanitary products, which has led to a complete outrage from women across the UK, but why?

The reactions to this vote are in my opinion completely over the top and unnecessary, the Government are not saying that tampons/sanitary products are luxury items that they now intend to charge us more for, far from it. The government are in fact saying that sanitary products will stay at their current 5% VAT rate, which is the lowest that it can legally be in the UK in accordance with the EU taxation laws.

Secondly, not many people are aware of how difficult it would be for the government to abolish this taxation, as the House of Lords wouldn’t have been the end place of this bill even if it had been passed, the bill would have still had to have been put before the 28 member states of the EU, as the taxation laws of the UK are governed by the EU, meaning that the EU member states would also have to vote on whether the tax could be abolished, which in itself would have been unlikely.

So, why is this 5% VAT rate NOT the end of the world?

Before writing this blog I conducted some research looking at the different costs of sanitary products. Now, the cheapest box of Tampons that I found were 88p for 24 tampons, yes, that’s right 88p and the most expensive were a box of Tampax which were £5.49 for 36 tampons. So back to our 88p friends, if we work out the tax at a rate of 5%, you are in fact only paying 4.4p VAT per box of tampons, now 24 tampons is sufficient to last you a period, so, that’s 4.4p per month in tampon VAT, times that by twelve, you have 52p52p per year in tax on tampons and the average woman menstruates for 30 years of her life, so times that 52p by 30 and that gives you the absolutely bank breaking total of £15.84 in an entire lifetime!

Ladies, you’re kicking up a fuss over £15.84 in tax!

To put this into perspective I’ve also worked out the cost of 30 years worth of chocolates VAT, if you were to buy ONE Cadbury Dairy Milk 45g bar per month with a standard VAT applied at 20%, you are paying 12p per month on ONE chocolate bar, times that by 12, is £1.44 per year, so if you buy one chocolate bar per month for a year, you are paying £1,44 in VAT, compared the the 52p VAT you are paying for your box of tampons, if you times that £1.44 by 30 you come to the astonishing total of £43.20!

That’s right, the VAT that you’re all having a rant over is costing you less than 30 years worth of consuming one 45g chocolate bar per month.

Now, I’m not an expert, but I’d rather pay the £15.84 VAT on 30 years worth of tampons, than £43.20 VAT on 30 years worth of one chocolate bar per month.

So, lets now re-focus and re-group on the matter, lets say that hypothetically, the 5% taxation rate were to be cut, would retailers be charging us less for our sanitary products? Would they heck! You would still be paying 88p for a box of tampons, you just wouldn’t be paying 4.4p in tax every time you brought a box of tampons. So really, you wouldn’t see any change in what you’re paying for your tampons, you’d just know that the retailers were making an extra 4.4p profit on them.

In conclusion, is the “tampon tax” worth crying over?
The answer is no, no it isn’t, the 5% VAT rate really doesn’t make a difference in comparison with other products that consumers purchase, so therefore, why are we crying over £15.84, when we are willing to pay £43.20 in tax on 45g a month on chocolate.

I really hope that this blog has help put some perspective on the whole “Tampon Tax” issue.

Beth-Marie x