Taking back the ‘pink tax’: How brands are joining forces to make period products more affordable

Menstrual care brands like The Honey Pot have created the "Tampon Tax Back Coalition” to reimburse the sales tax on period products.

This week, eight menstrual care brands are addressing the politics of periods and fighting for equal rights in a unique way. Launching the “Tampon Tax Back Coalition,” Black-owned brand The Honey Pot joined forces with feminine hygiene brands August, Cora, Lola, Rael, Here We Flo, Saalt, and DIVA to create a system that reimburses menstruating individuals for the sales tax applied to period products, often referred to as the “pink tax” or “tampon tax.” 

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Taking on the “pink tax,” several brands join forces to axe the tax on menstrual products (Photo: Adobe Stock)

As of today, 21 states deem period products as “nonessential goods,” meaning a sales tax is applied to those purchases. However, the coalition and women’s health advocates believe these products should be tax-free in all 50 states. According to Nadya Okamoto, co-founder of August, who spearheaded the coalition, the group’s ultimate goal is for period care products to be considered medical necessities, making them exempt from sales taxes.

“It is not a luxury to have a period; it’s a part of our experience as a human who considers themselves a woman,” Beatrice Dixon, founder of The Honey Pot, said on the Today Show. “It’s not a luxury. It’s something that happens, and you need what you need to take care of yourself, and it’s not just tampons. It’s pads, it’s menstrual cups, it’s anything that a human with a vagina needs to take care of their menstrual cycle. So it was a no-brainer [to join the coalition].” 

Now, when consumers purchase products from any of the eight brands in the coalition, they can submit a copy of their receipt on tampontaxback.com to be reimbursed for the sales tax on their purchase within 48 hours. 

In recent years, 19 states have removed the sales tax from menstrual care products, with Texas being the latest to pass a bill. Similarly, last year, CVS announced a price reduction on its store-branded period care products. However, according to the National Diaper Bank Network’s initiative, the Alliance for Period Supplies, universal access to feminine hygiene products remains an issue in the United States. Focused on making necessities like diapers and menstrual products accessible to women and families, the nonprofit organization reports that “one in three menstruating people will miss work, school or similar events due to lack of access to period products.”

“The sales tax disproportionately impacts families in poverty,” said Troy Moore, chief of external affairs for the National Diaper Bank Network, per CNN. “Period poverty is also a big issue. Many can’t afford to buy these basic necessities, and the ramifications of this are seen in how it affects school attendance, for example.”

Similarly, a study by the nonprofit group Period found that almost one in four students in the country, particularly students of color and low-income students, struggle to afford period products. While Okamoto understands there is a long road ahead to axing the pink tax, she sees the coalition as a step toward a larger goal. 

“Hey, we can’t control whether or not you are charged a sales tax, but we can reimburse you for it because we don’t believe this tax is justified,” Okamoto told CNN. “My larger hope is accessible period products in schools, shelters, and prisons and free period care in workplaces and in schools.”

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