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UK Abolishes ‘tampon Tax’ On All Menstrual Products, Move Lauded By Women Activists

UK abolished a 5 percent rate of value-added tax (VAT) on all menstrual products for women as it exited the EU and was no longer legally bound by its laws.


The UK on January 2 abolished the controversial "tampon tax”, eliminating sales taxes on women's sanitary products as it exited the European Union. The move was lauded by the women's rights advocates as the country removed a 5 percent rate of value-added tax (VAT) on all menstrual products for women. No menstrual products will now be subjected to the VAT effective January 1.

"The ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to women’s sanitary products coming into effect today (1 January 2021)," the UK's government informed in a release. 

According to the UK government, the move is an initiative under the End Period Poverty which includes the roll-out of free sanitary products in schools, colleges, and hospitals for women. The rule was made possible as the UK transitioned out and attained separation from EU laws mandating VAT on sanitary products.

"I’m proud that we are today delivering on our promise to scrap the tampon tax. Sanitary products are essential so it’s right that we do not charge VAT," Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a release. He added, that the UK government has "already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges, and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women."

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VAT included in 2015 Finance Act 

The tax abolition was proposed by Chancellor in March 2020 Budget. This comes as UK's transition period ended on December 31st and EU VAT Directive mandated a minimum 5 percent tax on menstrual products was nullified as the UK was no longer legally bound by EU laws. 

"It’s been a long road to reach this point, but at last the sexist tax that saw sanitary products classed as non-essential, luxury items can be consigned to the history books," Felicia Willow, Fawcett Society Chief Executive, said.

Tampon Tax Fund was included in the 2015 Finance Act to donate money to charity equivalent to the amount of VAT revenue collected. Uk has since donated £47 million to charities working with vulnerable women and girls.

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