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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

How to Get a Refund for the Tampon Tax (2023)

Do you live in one of the 21 states that still charges a tax on period products? You might be able to get a refund if you purchase these goods from any of the eight companies that have partnered together to bring awareness to and hopefully end what’s known as the tampon tax. 

The Tampon Tax Back Coalition is made up of August, The Honey Pot, Rael, Lola, Cora, Diva, Here We Flo, and Saalt—all women-owned companies (some of which we’ve tested). These companies offer a range of products like pads and tampons made without excessive plastic and toxic ingredients, as well as reusable products like period cups and underwear.

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How to Submit a Claim for a Refund

If you purchase period products from any of these companies, directly from their websites or from certain retailers that carry them, you need to save your physical or digital receipts. If your receipt includes other items (like a full grocery order), the companies will be calculating how much tax was paid on period products specifically, not your entire order. 

First, head to tampontaxback.com, sign up with your phone number, and submit a receipt within 10 days of your purchase. You should receive a reimbursement for the tax you paid within 48 hours via Venmo—yes, you’ll need to create a free Venmo account if you don’t already have one. 

There are a few nuances and exceptions. Amazon purchases do not qualify. If you live in one of seven states where retailers are prohibited from “absorbing” sales taxes on behalf of customers—Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—you’ll need to make your purchases from big-box stores like Target or Walmart rather than from the period brand’s own websites. For example, if you purchase directly from Cora but live in one of those states, a refund will not be processed due to those state laws. But if you purchase Cora products from Target and then submit a request, Cora can refund you as it’s not the original retailer. 

Period care is personal and if your favorite products don’t come from any of the participating companies, you can try to submit a form to your state directly. Periodlaw.org has an interactive map that directs you to download the correct forms. This isn’t a guarantee, but it might help sway your elected officials to start thinking about this issue.

Photograph: Dmytro Skrypnykov/Getty Images

The “tampon tax” is not a government term, and there is no separate tax dedicated solely to period products. It refers to the fact that many US states do not tax products considered to be medically necessary but do tax period products, coding them as nonessential. Anyone who menstruates will tell you they’re essential and often quite expensive. 

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