Way to Go! Young Texas Woman Set to Take on “Tampon Tax”
Sahar Punjwani is set to challenge the State of Texas's "Tampon Tax", and she has a noted Houston law firm on her side.
When it comes to necessities like food and medicine here in the U.S., most of the time we can purchase this stuff and not have to pay sales tax on it. There is one other necessity however that here in Texas still gets taxed and many feel it's time to stop, menstrual hygiene products.
Those looking to stop the tax on menstrual hygiene products say it systematically and unfairly penalizes women.
Texas Tampon Tax
The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas is one of 26 states that still has the so called "tampon tax", and the Texas Menstrual Equity Coalition is looking to end it. Sahar Punjwani and Zoe Kass have joined together to form the coalition, whose goal is to see the Texas comptroller eliminate the tax on menstrual hygiene products.
Since 2017, the Texas Menstrual Equity Coalition have worked with state legislatures and filed a bill every session to make menstrual supplies tax-exempt. Nothing has ever made it out of committee as of yet.
The Fight Continues
After working with the Women's Health Caucus, they began discussing a challenge to the tax on menstrual supplies. The Houston law firm Baker Bots was suggested by Kass's dad and the firm agreed to take on the case pro bono. Baker Botts associate Laura Shoemaker McGonagill, says,
“When we started digging into sales tax … regulations promulgated by the comptroller, we saw that there was really this inequity going on in the tax treatment of menstrual products.”
The team gathered and went to the store to buy menstrual products, then submitted the receipt to the Texas Comptroller's office requesting a refund on the tax portion of the purchase.
The Comptroller"s Office denied the refund earlier this year, so Punjwani filed an appeal and requested a hearing. If that appeal gets denied, the group plans to take their case to court.
They plan to argue that menstrual products should qualify as “wound care dressings,” similar to ban-aids which are tax exempt.