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D.C. poised to end tax on tampons, diapers


 Diapers could soon be exempt from D.C. sales tax.

Update 3.10.2017: B21-696 was enacted on December 6, 2016. It is set to take effect "subject to the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget ant financial plan."

Earlier this week, the Washington D.C. Council held a public hearing on B21-696, a proposed sales tax exemption for diapers and feminine hygiene products. It was favorably received.

Six women, all of whom work in some capacity with low-income individuals and families, spoke in favor of the exemption. Their testimony focused on the fact that diapers and feminine hygiene products are “essential to basic survival” and “medically necessary” (Aisha Braveboy, Manager of Government Affairs at Children’s National Health System). Shannon Cooper, a student attorney from David Clark, told the council that a typical woman pays an average of $118 per year on tampon taxes, and said that although the tax does “not intentionally discriminate against women, the fact of the matter is only women experience menstruation and periods.”

Councilmembers also spoke in favor of the bill. Thanking the speakers, Chairman Jack Evans said their arguments were compelling, that he agreed, and that the Council would “move forward and get this done.” Councilmember Robert White, proud father of an infant daughter, then spoke of the expense of diapers and said, “Anything we can do in this city to help support families, particularly low and moderate income families, we should do.” Councilmember Silverman said the legislation was “sensible and necessary.” And Councilmember Bond said, “Eliminating the tax on these products will naturally have an impact on revenue,” but she added that the exemption would greatly benefit society, particularly low-income individuals and families.

No one spoke against the proposed exemption.

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.