Washington state legislators make tampons tax-free

SB 5147 will exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax

OLYMPIA — Women in Washington state will soon be relieved of paying sales tax on products that are fundamental to their feminine health, thanks to action by lawmakers this week.

Senate Bill 5147 will exempt feminine hygiene products, including tampons and menstrual cups, from sales tax in the state.

There are currently 31 states that do not exempt menstrual products from sales tax, including Washington state, according to Period Equity, an organization that advocates for menstrual equity.

“The products themselves are medically necessary,” said Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, the bill’s primary sponsor, in an earlier hearing. “It just happens to be that women use these exclusively. Every other medical necessary product that we have out there is tax-exempt.”

The bill was passed by the Senate March 7, with a vote of 49-0, and by the House March 10, with a vote of 95-2. It now heads to the governor’s desk for signature and would take effect July 1 once it is signed into law.