Switzerland has two rates of VAT: 2.5% for essential items such as food bought in supermarkets, and 7.7% on all other products. Currently, tampons and sanitary pads are taxed at 7.7%. A parliamentary majority would like to see them taxed at the lower rate of 2.5%.
It’s a question of fairness, according to Sophie Michaud Gigon, a parliamentarian from the Green party. Cat litter, caviar and the herbicide glyphosate are taxed at 2.5% but not menstrual hygiene products, she said. According to Michaud Gigon the list is political and open to modification.
107 members of parliament versus 70 were in favour of the tax reduction. A vote on whether to extend the tax rate cut to diapers failed to reach a majority.
Those opposed to the change voiced concerns about whether savings would be passed on to consumers or kept by retailers. Others voiced concerns about such changes becoming a slippery slope. After tampons and diapers we will always find other products, said Thomas Burgherr of the UDC/SVP.
The Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house will now vote on the proposal.