9 States That Don’t Tax Over-The-Counter Medications

SAVING & SPENDING - TAXES
Discover where the taxman won't touch your Tylenol purchases.
Updated April 9, 2024
Fact checked
Pouring cough syrup

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When cold and flu season hits, or allergies start, the cost of over-the-counter medications can add up fast. That can make it difficult to keep more cash in your wallet.

Fortunately, some states cut patients a break. In those places, many medications are exempt from sales tax.

These are the states that don’t tax at least some over-the-counter medications.

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Florida

Kevin Ruck/Adobe An aerial view of Florida

Many over-the-counter remedies are not taxed in Florida. The list is long and includes items such as pain-relieving medications, skin medications, sleep aids, and even antacids.

You also shouldn’t be taxed for sinus relievers, medicated ointments, Band-Aids, and gauze.

Maryland

Matthew Tighe/Adobe maryland state house in annapolis city

There's no sales tax on most over-the-counter medications and medical supplies in Maryland.

This includes all medicine, which can be any product that works to cure, treat, or prevent a condition. Disposable medical supplies and physical aids also fall under this definition.

Also note that baby powder, sanitary napkins, baby oil, and tampons are excluded from taxation.

Minnesota

stevengaertner/Adobe minneapolis avenue bridge

In Minnesota, you don’t have to worry about paying sales tax on most medications, and that even applies to drugs sold through a vending machine.

If a product includes a “Drug Facts” panel or a list of ingredients, it’s likely nontaxable. You also don’t have to pay taxes on blood pressure and pulse rate machines.

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New Jersey

Jin/Adobe aerial of jersey city

In New Jersey, there's no sales tax on any over-the-counter drugs.

To be exempt, the drug must have a "Drug Facts" panel or a statement of "active ingredients."

New York

Tierney/Adobe lower manhattan new york city

In New York, nonprescription and over-the-counter drugs — including pain relievers, cough medications, and dandruff shampoo — are usually exempt from sales tax.

The state doesn’t tax products that are not drugs but that are used for the preservation of health or that affect either the structure or function of the body. This includes contact lenses, laxatives, and lip balm.

Pennsylvania

checubus/Adobe beautiful pittsburgh at twilight.

Pennsylvania’s laws exempt all medicines, drugs, medical supplies, dentist materials, and wrapping supplies from state sales tax.

Therapeutic and prosthetic devices also are exempt from tax.

Texas

f11photo/Adobe Dallas Texas cityscape with blue sky at sunset

Texas has no sales tax on medications or drugs applied to the body, ingested, or inhaled. Tax also doesn't apply to drugs intended to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease or injury.

The product must have the “Drug Facts” label to qualify for the tax exemption. Wound care products and dietary and nutritional supplements are also exempt.

Vermont

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Montpelier Vermont USA town skyline

If you have a headache that requires a pain reliever, need a motorized cart to get around, or need hearing aids, there's no tax on those health care supplies in Vermont. Many other items also are exempt.

Over-the-counter medications such as antiseptics, eye preparations like contact lens solution, and medicated burn relief are all exempt from sales tax.

Virginia

Kevin Ruck/Adobe Richmond Virginia USA downtown drone skyline aerial

In Virginia, you don't pay sales tax on medications, drugs, eyeglasses, and related products under the state's laws.

You also don't have to worry about taxes on nicotine supplements, calamine lotion, bandages, bee sting relief, and many more.

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Washington, D.C.

THANANIT/Adobe Washington DC

If you're in the District of Columbia, you don't have to worry about paying taxes on most over-the-counter medications.

Hearing aids and medical equipment are also exempt from taxation.

Bottom line

Pixel-Shot/Adobe man taking cough syrup

The states on this list help get ahead financially by exempting specific over-the-counter medications.

Don't give up hope if you don't live in one of these places. Use the power of a health savings account or flexible spending account to create your own tax savings when purchasing medications.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.

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