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‘Tampon tax’: Italy to raise VAT on sanitary and baby products

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
‘Tampon tax’: Italy to raise VAT on sanitary and baby products
Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. Meloni's government published more details of its draft budget plan for 2024 on Tuesday. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Italy has delayed introducing the plastic tax once again in the 2024 budget but will increase VAT on items including feminine hygiene products and baby formula, according to the draft budget plan released on Tuesday.

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As the Italian government gave more details on Tuesday of the 2024 budget plan, it emerged that it included a plan to reverse previous cuts to the so-called ‘tampon tax’ or VAT rate on feminine hygiene products, as well as on nappies, baby food and infant formula.

The draft plan, shared with and published by Italian media outlets, stated that VAT will go back up to 10 percent on these and other items from July 2024, after it was cut to five percent last year.

The cut to VAT on essential hygiene and baby items in 2022, which was first approved in 2019, had previously been noted as the only specific financial aid measure Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s administration had so far provided to families since taking office in October 2022.

In recent years many countries have slashed VAT on essential hygiene products as the levy was widely deemed an unfair financial burden on women.

Italy’s standard VAT (known as IVA) rate is 22 percent, with lower rates applied to certain essential goods.

The move was among several tax increases included in the 91-article draft budget plan, which Meloni’s government announced on October 16th but only released on the 24th.

KEY POINTS: How will Italy's 2024 budget affect your finances?

It also included plans to increase taxes on cigarettes by between 10 and 12 euro cents from next year, and confirmed a planned increase in tax on heated tobacco products in 2024 and 2025.

However the 2024 budget plan delayed the introduction of so-called sugar and plastic taxes for a further six months. 

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Levies on sugary non-alcoholic drinks and on single-use plastic items were approved in the 2020 budget, but their implementation has been repeatedly pushed back amid opposition from industry groups.

Meloni announced on October 16th that the budget would partially reform Italy's income tax system, reducing the number of income brackets from four to three.

The package will also cover up to 3,000 euros a year in social security contributions for women employees with two children, with the youngest aged under 10, and those with three children or more, with the youngest up to 18, in a move Meloni said was intended to help large families.

The budget proposal was to begin its journey through parliament by the end of the week, and could undergo amendments before final approval.

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