Activists had collected 80,000 signatures – then Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had given in. The tax on menstrual items needs to be reduced, he said last October. However, not much of the tax relief could now reach women: According to media reports, several manufacturers have greatly increased the prices of tampons, sanitary towels and deposits at the same time that the tax cut came into effect.
According to a report by the journal “Lebensmittelzeitung”, OB manufacturer Johnson & Johnson called for higher selling prices for their menstrual products. According to the report, the industry is talking about increases in the double-digit percentage range. Johnson & Johnson denied that the price increase was related to the tax cut.
Traders criticize price increases
“We too have received price increases for monthly hygiene products,” a Kaufland spokesman confirmed to the “Tagesspiegel”. One cannot understand the higher demands of the suppliers. “We are currently not aware that the prices of raw materials have increased,” it said. They are not ready to accept these price increases and are currently in negotiations.
Other retailers also criticized the price increase. For example, the drugstore chain dm assured the “Lebensmittelzeitung” that it did not want to raise prices in the next four months.
A reduced tax rate of seven percent has been applied to menstrual products since January 1 of this year. The reduced VAT rate is intended for important everyday goods.
180,000 signed petition “Tampon Tax”
In some EU countries, the tax on monthly hygiene items has already been reduced or even abolished. The EU Parliament had called on the member states to do so. More than 180,000 people had signed a petition for the “Tampon Tax” online under the motto “The period is not a luxury”. Women spend several hundred euros a year on their periods – as this calculation example shows.
The amount of VAT is also controversial in other areas. So far, the reduced VAT rate of seven percent applies to meat products. On the other hand, as climate-friendly advertised oat milk is taxed at 19 percent. The tax on rail travel was recently reduced.