Tanning Tax Burns Consumers, Salons

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Bronzed-skin beauties will soon face a 10% excise tax known as the “tanning tax” on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolent lamps starting July 1.

The tanning tax is part of the new health care bill and is designed to generate $2.7 billion over 10 years to help fund the health care overhaul.

Jan Meshon, who owns City Sun Tanning in New York City, told CNN the average customer spends between $15 to $20 per visit, and "An extra 10% on top of that is definitely not helpful," he said. "All of our customers would like to spend less already."

James Sims is an enthusiastic New York indoor tanner. He spends around $400 a year on a package of tanning sessions. He told ABC News the new tax will hit his wallet hard. "That's a pretty big chunk," Sims said. "I'd never buy a plan like that now. … I'm already nickel and dimed on stuff."

But for some, the tanning tax won’t burn a hole through their wallets. Adrienne Zarisky is a regular tanner who’s been visiting tanning salons during the past two years to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. However, as we’ve reported in the past, too much tanning may be bad for your health, and some people may even be tanning addicts. The government wants to enforce the tanning tax to help pay for the expensive cost of treatment for skin cancer patients since tanning beds have been linked to the disease.

Zarisky told CNN that she probably will keep her tanning habits because it’s still "cheaper than having to take sunny vacations three times a year."

The tanning tax replaces the proposed 5% tax on cosmetic surgery, nicknamed the “botax,” that was originally included in the health care reform bill. The botax was removed from the bill after significant lobbying from the medical and dermatology industries. Several professionals in the tanning salon business are enraged with the removal of the botax because it was expected to generate $5.8 billion, more than twice the amount the tanning tax is projected to raise.

Joseph Levy, the vice president of the International Smart Tan Network, told CNN he estimates nearly 9,000 jobs are in jeopardy and more than 1,000 tanning salons at risk of closing with the implementation of this new tax.

Companies have the option to not tax the customer and pay the additional fee themselves. Mike Matherne is the owner of Tan 4 Less in Point Loma, California. He said he can’t afford to pay that fee himself because it would be approximately $2,000 each month.

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