GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — No tampon tax, period?
The new state law eliminating state sales tax on feminine hygiene products took effect Thursday, but Target 8 learned not every store is aware of the change.
Emily Beggs — who runs a local affiliate of the nonprofit organization I Support the Girls and has long advocated for these products to be tax-free — couldn’t wait to hit the store to buy her first tax-free menstrual products. Our crew tagged along with Beggs for the big moment.
But when we went to check out at Creston Market in Grand Rapids, there was a tax: The $6.99 box of tampons came to a total of $7.41.
The owner said he wasn’t aware the new law took effect and that they can’t remove the tax from their system until their wholesale distributer informs them to do so. As of Thursday afternoon, the Creston Market owner said they’ve received no such notification.
To see if this was the case anywhere else, Target 8 went to a party store down the street.
When Beggs went to check out, she was once again charged a sales tax on the box of tampons.
The store manager, who asked to remain anonymous, said he wasn’t aware the tampon tax had been repealed. After learning about the new law, the manager said he’ll no longer charge the 6% sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
After leaving the second store, Beggs couldn’t believe stores were still charging the tax.
“My concern is that there are women and people out there buying menstrual products today who are getting taxed, who legally should not be getting taxed,” Beggs said. “Especially as we’re in a neighborhood where residents are desperately in need of that financial help and they’re not getting it.”
Beggs decided to try a big retailer, like Meijer. When she went to checkout, all her feminine hygiene products were tax-free.
“That’s amazing,” she said. “That’s five years of work and it’s so great to see zero because when I go to the store and have to buy this for myself or for women in need … there’s always all those extra numbers we have to pay.”
Target 8 had interviewed Sen. Winne Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, earlier in the day about the law taking effect.
“It’s just a great day, I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought was, ‘This is the day,'” Brinks said during that interview.
Target 8 reached out to her office again to make her aware of the situation. After learning some places were still charging sales tax, a spokesperson with Brinks’ office put in an inquiry with the Michigan Department of Treasury.
The department released a statement late Thursday afternoon.
“We are sorry to hear about this situation. The Michigan Department of Treasury issued a notice in mid-December to notify taxpayers to no longer collect sales tax on feminine hygiene products. Consumers can request a refund from a retailer if they are accidently charged sales tax. When a new law goes into effect, it can often take retailers a little time to get their systems updated. We encourage individuals to check their receipts to ensure they’re not being charged.”Deputy Public Information Officer with the Department of Treasury Ron Leix