Michigan Governor Signs Bill to End ‘Tampon Tax’ After Successful Legal Effort
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed into law a bill that eliminates the state’s six percent sales tax on menstrual products, ending a multi-year legislative effort and a class action lawsuit that challenged the legality of the sales and use tax. The successful campaign for change was led by the nonprofit Period Equity with teams from law firms Schiff Hardin and WilmerHale providing pro bono services.
“We are grateful to the Michigan legislature for its overwhelming bipartisan support of this bill,” said Joanne Faycurry, an Ann Arbor-based Schiff Hardin partner who, with WilmerHale’s Brian Mahanna and Period Equity, filed the class action lawsuit in 2020 seeking to end the tax. “Menstrual products are medical necessities. The taxes on these products presented a clear gender inequity, making the taxes unconstitutional. No state should tax women for simply being women.”
The state’s “Tampon Tax,” which included taxation of menstrual pads and liners, impacts Michigan’s 2.4 million female residents. Michigan women pay nearly $7 million in sales taxes annually on menstrual products in addition to the $114 million they spend each year to purchase such products.
Laura Strausfeld, co-founder of Period Equity, said, “Period Equity and our legal partners in this effort applaud the Michigan legislature for passing this bill to repeal a discriminatory and unconstitutional tax that impacts half of the state’s population. We look forward to advancing similar legislation in the remaining 27 states where these medical necessities are subject to unfair taxation.”
Bills to eliminate Michigan’s tax on menstrual products were first introduced to the state legislature in 2016. The U.S. Congress recently amended the tax code to explicitly categorize menstrual products as “qualified medical expenses” like prescription drugs. Governor Whitmer campaigned on abolishing the “Tampon Tax,” recognizing the discriminatory nature of such taxes.
The law eliminating the tax goes into effect in 90 days after the Governor’s signature.