May 28, 2015

Tampon Tax to get the axe

Brian LilleyArchive

Women of Canada rejoice, the federal portion of sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products is about to disappear.

For years women have complained about having to pay the GST on what is essentially a necessity in this day and age. Well as of July 1, that tax will disappear.

The Harper Conservatives had supported an NDP motion earlier this month calling for an end to what has been dubbed "The Tampon Tax" but had stated that it could not be done away with until a future budget. Early Thursday though the government tabled a Ways and Means Motion to eliminate the GST on "A supply of a product that is marketed exclusively for feminine hygiene purposes and is a sanitary napkin, tampon, sanitary belt, menstrual cup or other similar product."

While the change takes place for the federal portion of the tax on July 1, provinces may still charge their own sales tax or their portion of the HST.

The fight continues.

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commented 2015-06-28 22:01:51 -0400
Oh great – NOW they drop it when I don’t need it anymore lol
commented 2015-05-30 03:23:42 -0400
Hey Bill, I’m married, but my husband knows better than to patronize me in the way you describe. Again, I would prefer eliminating all federal tax exemptions rather than creating new ones, as I think that’s the best way to make a consumption tax equal. If we continue on this path, I fear that our tax laws will become as convoluted as the U.S., and more people will just adopt avoidance strategies or simply opt out of tax reporting altogether. However, while I didn’t lobby for the abolishment of GST on tampons, I certainly am not opposed to it. And, as a life-long, female beer drinker and connoisseur, your argument that eliminating the GST on beer sales would somehow bring about true gender equity of the tax burden is baseless. That said, I wouldn’t be against it, because I’d certainly save a crap load of money.
I hadn’t even considered PMS, as it’s a bit tangential to the issue, but since you mentioned it, I hardly think men are the “prime recipients of PMS fallout”. In my experience, men like to idealize themselves as heroes who stoically and selflessly “put up” with the few days each month when the women in their lives suffer from an uncontrollable roller coaster of emotion and physical discomfort. But don’t fool yourself, it’s the women who are actually suffering. We’re the ones that have to endure the back pain, the intense abdominal cramping akin to food poisoning, the water retention that makes us feel like giant, sexless whales, the insomnia, fatigue, depression, anemia, headaches, and, last but not least, the extremely tender, aching breasts.
Women put up with all that and more, combined with having to deal with the disturbing awareness that we are bleeding through our vaginas. And let’s not forget the anxiety and paranoia associated with every woman’s worst nightmare — the humiliation and public embarrassment of having an accidental leak through our clothes, or even worse — staining a piece of office furniture.
There is absolutely nothing men can claim that even remotely approximates this uniquely female experience. Nothing.
commented 2015-05-29 20:41:40 -0400
Let tampons be tax free. I get excited when things become tax free. My point was more around a Canadian tax code that has more volumes that encyclopedia Britannica. We are all Canadian but there are certain exemptions for Indians, corporations, the disabled, the poor, the sick, people that move, people that live in the north, R&D etc.. etc… and now women who use tampons. It is crazy. I mean how thick does this Canadian tax code become in the end and how fair is it really?
commented 2015-05-29 12:16:16 -0400
Lesley Spence – I’m sure that if you make over $44,000 a year, $1.40 seems like nothing to you, but as soon as you go under that $44,000, that $1.40 is an extra package of instant noodles so you can eat a little extra, or even an extra day. $1.40 for a stringent budget is actually a lot, even infrequently.
commented 2015-05-29 10:38:54 -0400
Sure, great, GST free tampons etc starting July 1st. Now let’s do the arithmetic. I pay about 6 or 7 bucks for a box of these things. Lets say 7 for argument sake. $7.00 * .05 = .35 GST. A box will last 3 or 4 months. So lets say 3. That means I pay 35 cents 4 times per year. (.35 * 4) = $1.40 per YEAR in savings. Well, let the bells ring out and the banners fly – I can start planning for retirement now!

For this – the activists were screaming “gender based discrimination”? Really??? How embarrassing. If your biggest problem is paying 2 bucks or so a year in GST – or even 10 bucks a year, trust me, you are doing okay!

I would much prefer to see a tax break that benefits everyone – because it may also be argued that this tax break is “gender based discrimination”.

Finally, the reduced gov revenue will have to be made up in one of two ways: a tax increase somewhere else, or reduced spending. I predict either of those two actions will cause the very same people who advocated for this tax reduction to accuse the gov of being heartless or greedy or both.
commented 2015-05-29 08:05:05 -0400
Erin, if you think men do not suffer from PMS as much as Women do , you are not in a normal long term relationship. Men are usually the prime recipients of PMS fallout – but we just smile and say , “that’s OK , I know you didn’t mean what you said, I still love ya honey” ;-)

How about some gender equity on the tax burden – say removing provincial beer tax – that would smooth over a lot of PMS bumps guys have to take.
commented 2015-05-29 03:21:43 -0400
I intended no offense to any male commenters by my concluding remark, but would ask that you just imagine for a second what menstruation is like before weighing in on any decision to scrap the GST on feminine hygiene products.
commented 2015-05-29 03:16:19 -0400
Women pay a crap load of taxes on razors and shaving cream, too, Barry, so it’s not a fair comparison. Certain so-called “necessities” have been GST-exempt since its inception – children’s clothing, milk, bread, etc. There are two ways to approach the tampon tax issue from a fairness standpoint. The first option is to simply make the GST apply to everything equally, so that no single good or service is exempt at point of sale. I’m a Canadian woman, but that would be my preference. However, it’s not about to happen anytime soon because of the certainty of negative public backlash directed against any MP who even proposes it.
The other option is to make feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads exempt from the GST. I can do without tax-free milk and bread, and even children’s clothes (since I don’t have any). But I can hardly function in modern society without tampons. It’s not as if I can simply take 5-7 days off work every month while I’m on my period in order to stay home and sit in my bathtub. We’re not living in the dark ages anymore, when menstruating women were banished to a red tent outside the village, and forbidden from interacting with anyone and from handling food.
Menstruation products are absolutely essential to enable women to participate in modern society, and especially in the work force. You can either argue that everything – and everyone – should be taxed equally (and I won’t hold my breath), or you (i.e. men) can keep your opinions on abolishing the tampon tax to yourself, at least until such time as your penises start bleeding for 5-7 days every month. Those are your choices.
commented 2015-05-29 00:04:35 -0400
What about diapers for Kids AND Adults?
commented 2015-05-28 23:50:48 -0400
No fair. I pay a crap load of taxes on razors n shaving cream.
commented 2015-05-28 23:29:38 -0400
This is a made up issue. There are reusable feminine hygiene products so the necessity angle is a bit much. If this was a really issue, I think people would be going after many items before feminine hygiene. For example, every adult is taxed for clothing. I believe clothing, especially in winter, is an everyday requirement in Canada not an every 30 day issue. Electricity, natural gas, and heating oil are all taxed. Medications are taxed. I don’t hear any outrage regarding these items?
commented 2015-05-28 17:45:42 -0400
Great news for women. Now if the Provinces follow suit…………. Anything deemed a necessity should not be taxed. If basic drugs etc were not being taxed, perhaps we could lessen the strain on our Health Care Systems. Try living in our society without electricity or a means to heat your home in a Northern Climate. Just saying……………….
commented 2015-05-28 17:41:48 -0400
I bet this will make Big Tampon happy.