A new 10 percent tax on tanning salons approved by the federal government kicked in last week and salon owners in Florida are angry. Florida Today reports that tanning salon owners say the federal tax will hurt their business in an economy that is already challenging. Until now, tanning salons had to tax products such as lotions sold in their shop, but they did not tax the use of the tanning beds.
The tanning tax will impact about 18,000 small businesses in the U.S. The ten percent tax could raise the cost of three months of unlimited tanning, which usually runs about $235, making it less affordable to young customers, who are primarily women.
Originally called a vanity tax, the tanning salon tax was debated in Congress before it was passed in December 2009. The vanity tax proposed a five percent tax on Botox injections and breast implants, but in the end, it was bumped to 10 percent tax on tanning and the Botox and cosmetic industry got off tax-free.
Some salon owners say tanning has therapeutic effects by helping alleve depression and fixing some skin conditions.
But the president of the American Academy of Dermatology doesn’t agree. He says the indoor tanning tax is a good public health policy because it will discourage young people from the harmful practice of tanning and the increased risk of melanoma.
The tanning tax was proposed by Congress and is expected to raise about $2.7 billion over ten years, needed to offset the cost of the national healthcare plan.