A last-minute change in the federal health care bill
ditched a proposed 5 percent tax on cosmetic medical procedures and
replaced it with a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services.
Goodbye Botox tax. Hello tan tax.
“They’re scared to death,” he said. “They’re already suffering through this recession.”
The International Smart Tan Network, a
educational trade association for the tanning salon industry, estimates
the tax could cause 1,000 tanning business to shut down and up to 9,000
job cuts in 2010. Nationally, there are more than 20,000 indoor tanning
salons, and that doesn’t count gyms, hair salons and other places that
also offer tanning services.
independent tanning salon owners said they won’t be able to absorb the
10 percent tax and will either have to pass the cost on to customers,
cut staff or increase their own hours. One of them is
“Times are really tough right now,” Ranew said. “I
can’t absorb this. I don’t know how it will all work out, but I see it
costing us business and eliminating a lot of smaller businesses.”
The impact to consumers is difficult to determine
because salon owners could handle the tax differently. If an owner
decided to pass along the full tax to the customer, then a
The tan tax popped up in the health care bill last weekend after powerful medical lobbies — including the
“We were a sacrifice for another more politically powerful group,” Overstreet said. “It speaks of what’s wrong with
“Since 90 percent of cosmetic surgery patients are
women, this would have been a very discriminatory tax,” said White, who
opposed the cosmetic surgery tax.
The indoor tanning industry is made up of more than
20,000 small businesses, with at least 75 percent owned by women,
according to the
One concern with these so-called vanity taxes is
there’s no guarantee the demand for cosmetic surgeries, or a tan, will
remain strong enough to generate the projected tax revenue. In 2004,
became the first and only state to tax cosmetic medical procedures, but
less than one-third of the expected revenue was collected, White said.
The so-called Botax would have raised about
over 10 years, but industry groups say that figure is too high. The
International Smart Tan Network estimates the tax would generate less
Another issue appears to be the source of ultraviolet light treatment.
Indoor tanning industry groups note that
dermatologists use tanning equipment in their offices for cosmetic skin
conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, in phototherapy treatments
that cost up to
The tan tax would exempt phototherapy services performed by a licensed medical professional.
“This is like Coke being allowed to lobby the
government to tax Pepsi, but that Coke be allowed to sell the same
product and not be taxed for it,” International Smart Tan Network Vice
Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.