EU Taxation on Feminine Hygiene Products

And in January Britain will be able to reduce VAT on sanitary products to zero.

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Do you think that’s likely? Or will the Tories double it to fund anti-trans initiatives?


It was a budget commitment but, unlike HS2, it might be shelved to save money, on the other hand it is a cheap way for Sunak to buy some votes.


They could do it today, tomorrow, last week, or any time they felt the fuck like it. They’re zero VAT rated in Ireland. VAT is entirely a national competence and nothing to do with the EU.


Everything to do with the EU, and previous established laws, which is why Ireland is the only EU country that has zero VAT on sanitary products.

Every country in the EU has different rates on sanitary products. Ours used to be at, I shit you not, the luxury rate. We changed them. Just as both the UK and Ireland changed VAT rates on a plethora of products and services in response to the pandemic.

The VAT rate in an EU member state is not, never has been, and there are no plans to make it ever be, set centrally by the EU. What the EU regime does is replace bilateral VAT treaties between individual states with a central system to make buying and selling between member states much easier. That’s all.

I fear you went and believed some English Tories who have made a career out of telling pork pies about Europe to credulous people.


I fear you have been misled.

The rate might not be set centrally but the minimum rate is.


You’re right. This is new news to me as it wasn’t last I looked. Obviously before 2015 it seems.

From your sources the current UK government party voted on whether to zero rate them in 2015 and decided not to. So it is only 5 years that they couldn’t have done it. They literally voted to keep VAT on.


I had a longer comment which I scrapped because I didn’t have time to do all the research required to avoid putting misleading facts out there (because I really needed to get to work now) so I’m just going to leave this here:

I really didn’t think I’d run into a Brexiter here.

Tl;dr: if Brexit hadn’t happened then all of the EU would have an option to impose 0 VAT on tampons by 2022 hanks to the UK’s activism on the issue. Which, btw, is how the system is supposed to work. If you see an injustice or an unintended consequence you work to change the rules for everyone rather than throwing a hissy fit.


Your assumptions are incorrect and irrelevant to my comment. I actively campaigned for a remain vote, in an admittedly small local way and preaching mainly to the converted (I live in London, in a borough that voted 75% to remain).

I am just going to leave this here, Annex III paragraph (3).

Yes? That’s the part that was set to be changed in 2016 until that was delayed by Brexit?

There have been 9 amendments to the Directive since 25 May 2016.

Which country is “ours”?

@DukeTrout @robertmckenna

They could have zero rated them in the past, they voted not to.

What they WILL do (it was in the spending review yesterday) is reduce VAT to zero for financial products sold into the EU from Jan 1st.

That will cost us £1bn per year in lost revenue and benefit only The City.
The net increases in VAT mechanisms will hit consumers (See item 50 and 54)

It’s the largest non-budgeted non-covid cost in the review.



Almost as though Sunak had pals in the City


As scathing satire, this works. As straight commentary? Not so much, as others have noted. I wonder which was intended, though I initially read it as the former.

I don’t read it as whinging - it’s more like a discussion to try to get to the bottom of whether lower VAT could have been applied before - and could be done now - were it not for the wilful ignoring of the issue by (predominantly male, of course) national politicians, or whether there were indeed weird barriers preventing lower VAT rates on ‘sanitary’ products imposed by EU directives for arcane/historical reasons. If we’re going to blame someone for the lunacy of VAT being applied at all, it’s probably best to make sure the blame is allocated to the right place. Though probably they’re all equally to blame.

And I’m still unclear as to the answer, TBH.

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Tax policy in this area DIRECTLY affects women’s health and welfare. In the EU, VAT is a purchase tax that makes these products much more expensive than they should be.

Women are the ones most severely impacted by an unfair tax, the 5% equates to a tiny revenue to the tax collector but will equate to period poverty for many, mainly young, women, which adversely affects their education and their health.

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Yet Scotland dealt with the issue by making these products free, the topic of this thread.

And YES, I’m aware of how taxes on such items impact me, being a woman and all. :woman_shrugging: Did you think I was unaware?


No, I did not think you were unaware, I hope you do not think I was unaware or abstruse when I brought up the tax.

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