NY women file lawsuit to block "tampon tax"

Posted at 8:29 AM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 13:46:48-05

Five women have filed a lawsuit to block New York State's so-called "tampon tax."

They want the state tax department to stop imposing a four percent luxury tax on feminine hygiene products. Right now, the department classifies pads and tampons as general merchandise, making them ineligible for a "medical supplies" tax exemption.

The complaint says that tampons and sanitary pads serve medical purposes and are necessary for women's health.

The women also say that the state tax department taxes products used by women only, but not items used by both genders.

"How can it be that the guy in line in front of us is buying his Chapstick and Rograine and not paying taxes, and we are," one of the plaintiffs, Laura Stausfeld asked. "It felt like a tax on women."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that it's time someone shines light on the discrepancy.

"Menstruation and periods are something that people have been ashamed of, or stigmatized, or weren't talking about, " said attorney Jennifer Weiss-Wolf. "If women aren't at the decision making table that people's whose lives are really impacted by it, whose thinking about it?"

New York women reportedly pay 14-million dollars in taxes on feminine hygiene products each year. 

New York's tax commissioner declined comment on the lawsuit.