As of 1st January 2021, a zero rate of VAT applies to women’s sanitary products.
HM Treasury announced the zero rate of VAT for women’s sanitary products this month. This move follows that of Scotland, which was the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products after a four-year campaign.
The move honours a government commitment to scrap the tax and is part of a wider strategy to make sanitary products affordable and available for all women which includes:
- January 2020’s roll out of free period products for all young people in English state schools and colleges and extension of the scheme into 2021
- the NHS offering period products to every hospital patient who needs them (including long-term in-patients) since 2019
- the Tampon Tax Fund, established in 2015, which allocated the funds generated from VAT on period products to projects supporting vulnerable and excluded women and girls
“I’m proud that we are today delivering on our promise to scrap the tampon tax. Sanitary products are essential so it’s right that we do not charge VAT. We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women” – Rishi Sunak, Chancellor
The Chancellor announced that the tampon tax was to be abolished from 1 January 2021 at March 2020 Budget. As the transition period ended on December 31st, the UK is no longer bound by the EU VAT Directive which mandates a minimum 5% tax on all sanitary products.