Nevada Question 2: Exempting Feminine Hygiene Products from the Sales Tax

September 7, 2018

Voters in Nevada will be asked several questions on their November ballot. One, known as Question 2, would amend the state’s sales tax code to exempt feminine hygiene products from taxation.

Currently, 14 states do not subject feminine hygiene products to a sales tax. Five states, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon, do not have general sales tax. Another nine states with sales taxes provide some sort of exemption. Those states are Connecticut, Florida, Illinois Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The District of Columbia also provides an exemption.

Exempting feminine hygiene products has been a popular tax policy discussion in recent years, with supporters of “tampon tax” repeal efforts arguing that women are discriminated against when buying these necessity items. But the argument stretches the imagination. First, no state subjects tampons to a special or unique tax. Feminine hygiene products are subject to Nevada’s sales tax, similar to many other items.

Additionally, while these exemptions are well-intentioned, they reduce the productivity of the sales tax. As exemptions creep up, the sales tax rate must be higher to generate the same amount of revenue. That means other items are now more expensive to offset the exemption. The exemption for feminine hygiene products is just one of many exemptions pursued by Nevada, and other states.

Ideally, sales taxes should tax all final consumer purchases, without regard to whether items are classified as necessities or luxuries. Moves to exempt items, such as feminine hygiene products, violate the principles of sound sales tax policy.

Sales Tax Treatment of Feminine Hygiene Products
As of July 1, 2018
State State Tax Rate Feminine Hygiene Treatment

Source: State statutes, forms, and instructions.

Alabama 4.00% Included in Base
Alaska 0.00% n/a
Arizona 5.60% Included in Base
Arkansas 6.50% Included in Base
California 7.25% Included in Base
Colorado 2.90% Included in Base
Connecticut 6.35% Exempt
Delaware 0.00% n/a
Florida 6.00% Exempt
Georgia 4.00% Included in Base
Hawaii 4.00% Included in Base
Idaho 6.00% Included in Base
Illinois 6.25% Exempt
Indiana 7.00% Included in Base
Iowa 6.00% Included in Base
Kansas 6.50% Included in Base
Kentucky 6.00% Included in Base
Louisiana 4.45% Included in Base
Maine 5.50% Included in Base
Maryland 6.00% Exempt
Massachusetts 6.25% Exempt
Michigan 6.00% Included in Base
Minnesota 6.88% Exempt
Mississippi 7.00% Included in Base
Missouri 4.23% Included in Base
Montana 0.00% n/a
Nebraska 5.50% Included in Base
Nevada 6.85% Included in Base
New Hampshire 0.00% n/a
New Jersey 6.63% Exempt
New Mexico 5.13% Included in Base
New York 4.00% Exempt
North Carolina 4.75% Included in Base
North Dakota 5.00% Included in Base
Ohio 5.75% Included in Base
Oklahoma 4.50% Included in Base
Oregon 0.00% n/a
Pennsylvania 6.00% Exempt
Rhode Island 7.00% Included in Base
South Carolina 6.00% Included in Base
South Dakota 4.50% Included in Base
Tennessee 7.00% Included in Base
Texas 6.25% Included in Base
Utah 5.95% Included in Base
Vermont 6.00% Included in Base
Virginia 5.30% Included in Base
Washington 6.50% Included in Base
West Virginia 6.00% Included in Base
Wisconsin 5.00% Included in Base
Wyoming 4.00% Included in Base
D.C. 5.75% Exempt

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