Tampon tax: How much have you spent?

Tampon tax: How much have you spent?
From BBC - November 20, 2017

Find out how much you have spent on the so-called tampon tax - the VAT on sanitary products.

Tampons and towels are currently taxed at 5% in the UK. But they have been subject to five different rates since 1973.

So how much you have spent depends on how old you are and when you started your first period.

Try our calculator to see roughly what you have spent so far, and how much you might spend in your lifetime.

All figures are in current prices. The lifetime VAT calculation assumes a continued rate of 5%.

Ca not see the calculator? Click here.

How the calculator works

The calculator is based on a number of assumptions:

Biological figures are based on information from NHS UK. The unit cost is an average calculated on today's prices, courtesy of, from three leading UK retailers (not including those which have already reduced their prices by 5% to cover the tampon tax).

We reached your result by calculating how many years you were menstruating for during each of the five VAT rates that have applied to sanitary products since 1973 and how many years you are likely to continue to menstruate, assuming that menopause is at age 51.

All calculations are in whole years, from 1 January of the year you entered.

For simplicity, we have not taken pregnancy or other reasons for missing periods into the calculation.

The figure of 22 products used per cycle is from the Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers Association and the Women's Environmental Network.

A brief history of the tampon tax

Value Added Tax is currently charged at the reduced rate of 5% on sanitary products, including panty liners and certain maternity pads. But this has not always been the case.


Future of the VAT rate


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