Attorneys file lawsuit in Tallahassee to end ‘discriminatory’ tampon tax

By Katie Chevrier | Jul 27, 2016

TALLAHASSEE – Bryan Gowdy, a Jacksonville attorney, and Dana Brooks, a Tallahassee attorney, recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Florida for imposing sales tax on feminine products, which are not considered medical products by the state.

The attorneys support their client, Carlee Wendell, in her efforts to end this tax.

“The goals of the lawsuit are to stop the future collection of the tax and to seek a refund for taxes paid in the last three years by all Florida women,” Bryan Gowdy told the Florida Record. “We seek to have our client represent a class for that purpose.”

The state provides an online document titled Nontaxable Medical Items and General Grocery List. Common household remedies such as gauze and wart removers are listed as nontaxable, as are a long list of groceries such as cookies, food coloring and marshmallows. But feminine products are considered toilet articles, which are taxable. 

“In Florida, you don’t have to pay tax on household items like a loaf of bread or a bottle of aspirin,” said Gowdy. “So tampons and pads clearly fall into that category. They’re used only by women but yet they’re being treated differently and taxed, and it’s discriminatory.”

This lawsuit and similar cases in Ohio and New York argue that men are not taxed on Rogaine and similar optional care products while women are forced to pay a tax on items necessary to their hygiene and health. The so-called "tampon tax" has been petitioned in several states over the past year as well as in Europe.

Gowdy said he is working hard on this lawsuit.

“It’s very important to my client and to all women in Florida who must buy tampons and pads,” he said.

The lawsuit has gained considerable attention and interaction from Florida citizens.

“We’re excited about it, and we’ve only gotten positive feedback,” Gowdy said. “We think it’s a worthy, important cause, and it’s a clear example of discrimination.”

Interested parties may inquire on the Barrett, Fasig & Brooks law firm website to receive more information about the lawsuit.

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Barrett, Fasig & Brooks State of Florida

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