FACT CHECK: Does Germany Have A 19 Percent Tax On Feminine Hygiene Products?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Germany has a 19 percent tax on feminine hygiene products while having only a 7 percent tax on books.

Verdict: Misleading

While Germany did have a 19 percent tax on female hygiene products, it abolished the tax in 2020.

Fact Check: 

The Facebook image, which features a screen grab of a tweet, claims Germany had a 19 percent tax on feminine hygiene products while only having a 7 percent tax on books.

“Today I learned that female hygiene products in Germany have a nominal tax rate of 19%, but books only 7%. So one company is packaging tampons as books, and selling as books, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it :-),” reads the post.

Germany does have a 7 percent value-added tax (VAT) on books, according to Publishing Perspective. The rate can be applied to books, ebooks and audiobooks, the outlet reported.

The claim about female hygiene products in Germany, however, is misleading. While Germany did have a 19 percent tax on feminine hygiene products, the country abolished it in 2020, according to DW. At the time, Germany classified feminine hygiene products as luxury items, which meant they were taxed at 19 percent, the outlet reported.

The German parliament voted to abolish the 19 percent tax on female hygiene products in November 2019 after journalist Jule Schulte presented them with a petition with over 80,000 signatures supporting the move, according to Dazed Digital. The petition gathered over 189,000 signatures on Change.org before the change was made official, starting in January 2020. (RELATED: Did Germany Elect Hitler As Their Chancellor?)

The book featured in the tweet is real and can be found on The Female Company’s website. It was initially created as a way to skirt the 19 percent luxury tax on tampons, the website explains. The company’s PR manager, Amelie Göckel, told Dazed Digital the company sold out of its first edition of the book in a day and a half.

“We sent 100 books into the Bundestag and finally got heard. Several parties invited us to talk about the tax, and not even one year later it was reduced for almost all period products within Germany,” Göckel told Dazed Digital. Today, tampons and other female hygiene products are taxed at 7 percent in Germany, according to The New York Times.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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