Some District Taxes and Age Restrictions on the Rise, Feminine Hygiene Taxes Cut

With the mark of the 2019 fiscal year District residents must now be 21 to purchase cigarettes and must pay $4.94 in taxes for a pack.
With the mark of the 2019 fiscal year District residents must now be 21 to purchase cigarettes and must pay $4.94 in taxes for a pack.

By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor

Oct. 1 marked the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year, which also meant tax changes for those who spend money in the District of Columbia.

The general sales tax has grown by a quarter of a percentage point to 6 percent, according to WAMU.  Also increasing by the same amount is beer, malt liquor and wine sold in stores, rising to 10.25 percent.  Proceeds from these tax increases are supposed to be allotted for maintenance and improvement of D.C.’s Metro.

Cigarette smokers will have to budget an extra $2 as the tax has risen from $2.94 to $4.94 for a pack of 20. The District cigarette tax is significantly higher than that of the surrounding areas, such as in Maryland where taxes are $2 a pack and Virginia 30 cents a pack. The District’s climbing cigarette tax is still lower than that of other major cities like New York and Chicago, whose are currently $5.85 and $6.16 respectively.  In addition, the tax rate on products like e-cigarettes soared from 60 to 96 percent of wholesale sales.

With the increase in taxes for cigarettes also came a rise in the age to purchase them.  No longer can 18-year-olds brag about being able to buy cigarettes on their 18th birthdays in the District as the age has risen to 21 to purchase any tobacco products.

For those District residents that rely on ride shares services like Uber and Lyft, expect to spend more money.  The tax for ride shares has increased from 1 percent to 6 percent, according to WTOP.

The Republican tax overhaul from earlier this year will definitely benefit the city’s wealthier residents.  The estate tax exemption is now $5.6 million down from a whopping $11.2 million, allowing many high-income residents to avoid taxation on their assets.

One of the biggest tax changes comes in the form of a total cut for feminine hygiene products, such as pads, tampons and menstrual cups.  This major change comes after the “tampon tax” was repealed by the City Council in 2016, yet was not officially funded by Mayor Muriel Bowser until she released her 2019 budget in early 2018.  In nearby Maryland, feminine hygiene products are already not taxed as they are considered similar to medicine.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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