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California may fund tampon exemption with liquor tax


 California seeks tampon tax exemption, again.

“There is no happy hour for menstruation.”

Last year, the California Legislature sent bills to the governor’s desk that would exempt from sales and use tax feminine hygiene products (AB 1561) and diapers (AB 717). Gov. Brown vetoed the measures on the grounds that they would reduce state revenue. Now a bill has been introduced that proposes eliminating the sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products and increasing the tax on liquor.

Bill sponsor Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia said, “Common sense is that liquor is a choice and a luxury and human biology is not. There is no happy hour for menstruation. Our tax code needs to reflect the fact that it’s not okay to tax women for being born women.”

Cosponsor Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher added, “Diapers are an expensive necessity for every baby, and for many elderly and disabled Californians. It’s just common sense that we shouldn’t tax life necessities like diapers and tampons, and every dollar we can save parents and seniors is critical. We need our tax system to reflect our values.”

The Common Cents Tax Reform Act adds diapers and feminine health products to the list of exempted necessities. To address the governor’s previous objections, the Act also raises the excise tax-per-gallon on hard liquor by $1.20 for liquors that are less than 100 proof. Liquors over 100 proof would be taxed twice that amount. No additional taxes would apply to beer or wine.

Other proposed tampon tax exemptions

Sales and use tax exemptions for feminine hygiene products have been proposed in several other states this session. Six measures have been introduced in Texas, and two bills are under consideration in Michigan. A sales and use tax exemption for diapers and feminine hygiene products has been enacted in Washington D.C., but it won’t take effect until approved by Congress.

Changes in product taxability are one reason sales and use tax compliance is so complicated. Tax automation software facilitates compliance for businesses of all sizes in all states. Learn more.

photo credit: classic_film 1965 Ad, Pursettes Tampons, Pretty Girl in Various Fashions, Swimsuit, Sportswear, Dress via photopin (license)


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
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.