Menstrual cups to be cheaper in January under new VAT rules

Menstrual cups to be cheaper in January under new VAT rules

Other menstrual products, including sanitary towels and tampons, maternity pads and panty liners, were already on a zero VAT rate. 

Menstrual cups will be cheaper from January under new VAT rules, announced as part of the Budget.

A zero rate of VAT will be applied to a small number of period products which are currently subject to a 9% rate, including menstrual cups, also known as moon-cups, menstrual pants, sometimes known as period pants, and menstrual sponges.

These products had a reduced rate of VAT since January last year, at 9%. That has now been removed completely. 

Other menstrual products, including sanitary towels and tampons, maternity pads and panty liners, were already on a zero VAT rate. 

Lecturer in tax and accounting at the University of Galway, Mary Cosgrove, welcomed the announcement.

“We’ve had a 0% rate on tampons and sanitary towels, they are specifically listed at the zero rate since we joined the European Union,” she said.

“Globally there have been a number of campaigns over the last few years to get rid of what was called the ‘tampon tax’ in the US and in the UK. So much of our media comes from those countries, that a lot of people presumed Ireland has VAT on tampons and sanitary towels.” 

She said because menstrual cups are a new technology they were not previously included. 

“They came under the reduced rate, which is 9%. They were in under pharmaceutical products,” she said.

“Those remaining period products are now on the zero rate. The pants reduction is great actually, Pennys and other shops sell them.” 

She said it will now be up to the retail outlets to act on this decision.

“It will be interesting to see if those VAT changes get passed on,” she said.

Ms Cosgrove pointed out that market forces mean these are frequently cheaper in the UK already. 

Removing VAT completely from menstrual cups and other products was raised in the Dáil in June by Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan.

This followed the publication of a European Union directive giving governments greater flexibility in setting rates.

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