Local woman leads 'tampon tax' suit

Posted at 5:16 AM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 05:22:18-04

Stephanie Rowitz, 23, of Seven Hills, is one of four Cleveland-area plaintiffs who filed a class-action complaint against Ohio’s Department of taxation.

She sat down with Thursday to discuss her objections to the state’s tax on feminine sanitary products. 

Rowitz’ suit alleges that a tax on tampons and pads is a “tax against women,” who are required to purchase the products for their monthly menstruation periods. 

Rowitz told that she had been following the repeal of tampon taxes in other countries like Canada and Australia when she started looking into the tax code in Ohio. 

She said she was upset to learn that Ohio was not one of the ten states in which tampons and sanitary napkins are tax exempt. 

“It’s through no fault of my own that I’m a female and the government’s going to make more money off of me,” Rowitz said. “It’s not equal, its not fair and it should not be Constitutional anymore.” 

The complaint, filed earlier this month, argues that tampons and pads should be part of a long list of medical devices that are exempted from the 5.4 percent personal property tax. 

The list of exemptions includes adult and infant diapers, bandages to dress open wounds and even a type of pad used to collect bodily fluids after a male patient’s vasectomy surgery. 

“So why not tampons?” she said “There’s not a lot of logic behind why they’re not taxed.” 

Rowitz’s attorney Sandy Kelly added that feminine sanitary products are already considered “medical devices” by the Food and Drug Administration. 

“These are medical devices that prevent infection,” Kelly said. “They are necessary and they are certainly not a luxury.” 

Ohio’s challenge also mirrors another class-action lawsuit filed earlier this year in the state of New York. reached out to the Ohio Department of Taxation for comment on the lawsuit. A spokesman said the department would not comment on pending litigation.