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Question: What Is Tampon Tax? And Do We Pay It In Ireland?

Period poverty affects one in four women. 

From January next year, there will be no VAT whatsoever on women’s sanitary products in the UK...but what about Ireland?

Talk of the tampon tax/pink tax/menstrual tax has been rampant as of late as women the world over are fighting the levies issued upon them for simply being a woman of the world. 

Earlier this year, a group of English activists single-handedly created a world in which sanitary products are dispensed freely to those who attend school upon hearing the news that one in ten school-goers have missed school due to simply not being able to afford menstrual products. 

Following the Scottish model, tackling period poverty is now firmly on the agenda thanks to a cross-government push. 

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International attention ensued, allowing the Irish Government to follow in the steps of our British counterparts as the Seanad, just months ago, passed a motion on “period poverty” proposed by the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus.

The motion – which had already been passed by the Dáil on March 13 2019 – calls on the Government to provide free, adequate, safe and suitable sanitary products in all public buildings, and to arrange more comprehensive menstrual education in schools.

It also calls for the Government to prioritise the issue of menstrual equity for gender equality as central to its overseas development programme.

While many countries are making huge strides for women's rights and gender equality, however, some have only made smaller steps in recent years.

Research from MyVoucherCodes has analysed the sanitary products tax in Europe, showing that the five countries with the highest Tampon Tax are:

Hungary - 27%, Norway - 25%, Sweden - 25%, Denmark - 25%, Croatia - 25%.

Research also revealed the countries with the lowest Tampon Tax:

Republic of Ireland - 0%, UK - 5%, France 5.5%, Netherlands - 6%, Belgium - 6%.

Tampons and sanitary towels are not subject to VAT in Ireland which has a zero rate treatment on women’s sanitary products.

The Irish rate was implemented before EU legislation imposed reduced VAT rates on certain goods and services. This legislation has prevented other EU members, like the UK, from reducing their VAT rate on sanitary products to 0%.

Believe it or not, some biscuits such as Jaffa Cakes are classed as essential (therefore tax-free in most countries) while tampons and other sanitary products are classed as a luxury, with tax as high as 27% in some countries.

To see the full extent of the research, click here.

Main image by Getty Images

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