Austria Lowered Its Tampon Tax But Missed an Opportunity to Eliminate Its Discriminatory Law

The Austria Federal Council (the upper house of the country’s parliament) has approved the COVID-19 Tax Measures Act. See here. Apart from the extension of the lower 5% VAT tax on certain sectors (such as hospitality) and the creation of 0% VAT rate for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations through 2022, it also reduced the VAT on menstrual products to 10%.

To my mind, this is a missed opportunity for Austria to reduce its VAT on menstrual products even further, to the EU minimum of 5%. As Carla Spivack and I have argued (here), we think the EU tax laws as applied to menstrual products are ripe for a human rights law challenge and should be zero.

In the U.S. context, Emily Waldman and I have argued (here) that state law taxes on menstrual products are unconstitutional. We’re eagerly awaiting progress in the case brought challenging Michigan’s sales tax on menstrual products.

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