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Finance Minister rejects proposal to lower Finland's "tampon tax"

Mika Lintilä said the government won't reduce taxes on sanitary products, reports regional newspaper Keskisuomalainen.

Tamponipakkauksia kaupan hyllyssä.
Politicians around the world are calling attention to the unequal financial burden of sales tax on menstrual products. Image: AOP

It's unlikely that the government will lower Finland's "tampon tax", a 24 percent value-added tax (VAT) on sanitary products, Finance Minister Mika Lintilä told regional newspaper Keskisuomalainen over the weekend.

However ahead of this spring's general election, Lintilä's Centre party called for slashing the value-added tax on menstrual products, to 10 percent from 24. But now Lintilä said the government will not take any measures to lower the so-called "pink tax" although EU regulations allow member states to reduce the VAT on women's sanitary products at their own discretion. He told the paper that lowering tax rates was not a part of the current government’s programme, though saying that minimising gender-based price discrimination was an important goal overall.

Gender-based price discrimination has been under scrutiny in Finland since MP Saara Hyrkkö submitted an official request to parliament last month to propose lowering taxes on women's sanitary products. The Greens representative proposed lowering the current 24 percent value-added tax on menstrual protection to 10 percent, arguing that such products are "regularly-needed hygiene necessities".

Several countries have banned sales taxes for menstrual products altogether. Kenya was the first back in 2004, and Canada, Colombia, India, Ireland and most recently Australia are others that have since joined the list.

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