Nearly all businesses removed GST on menstrual products from 1 January 2019, resulting in lower prices, a new report from the ACCC has found.

The ACCC has issued a monitoring report today examining the prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of menstrual products in the feminine hygiene industry in Australia, following a direction from the Treasurer the Hon Josh Frydenberg in November 2018. 

The ACCC welcomes businesses implementing the removal of the GST on time and reflecting this with lower prices.

“The vast majority of retailers sampled were well prepared for the removal of the GST, and reduced retail prices of menstrual products by the expected 9.1 per cent,” ACCC Acting Chair Delia Rickard said.

In conducting the monitoring role, the ACCC observed that:

  • overall, businesses have done the right thing and the removal of GST from menstrual products has resulted in the expected price reductions for consumers
  • in a small number of cases, system and human errors caused a few businesses to either remove GST but keep prices unchanged, or fail to remove GST for a short time until the errors were identified.
  • businesses’ rounding policies, errors in previous pricing and already heavily reduced clearance products would also have reduced the observed shelf price changes in some instances.

“There was no legal requirement for businesses to reduce their prices, but post 1 January 2019 and the GST removal, most consumers would have expected the tax ‘saving’ to result in lower prices,” Ms Rickard added.

The report focuses on retail prices and price displays, and used a combination of complaint data, desktop research, field collection and compulsory information notices to gather relevant information.

The information represented a wide cross-section of the retail market for menstrual products, including online.

The ACCC is also engaging with a small number of online retailers, often based overseas, that may still be charging GST on menstrual products.

“Where retailers made oversights, these were quickly corrected and complaints to the ACCC and the Australian Taxation Office from consumers were extremely low,” Ms Rickard said.

The full report is available on the ACCC website.