To help fund health care reform, Congress first thought to tax certain cosmetic surgery procedures. The idea came to be known as the "bo-tax." However, there was enough organized resistance to kill the concept.
Not so for the 10% tax on indoor tanning, which bean counters estimated would raise $2.7 billion. I think they should read this item in The Wall Street Journal on the rocky start the tax is having. If the Feds collect even $1 million before repealing this dumb idea, I will be very surprised.
Remember the "luxury tax" on yachts? It didn't raise much revenue, but it did successfully injure the boat-building business in the U.S. and throw thousands of non-rich out of work.
Not being a tanning aficionado, I learned a lot from the article. For example, the tax applies to tans from UV light, but not to spray-on tans. Also, there's an exemption for health clubs or gyms that have tanning salons. That's going to put the stand-alones out of business, and it won't raise any money.
What if a standalone tanning business adds some workout equipment to get around the tax? Apparently new IRS regs. already have nixed that strategy.
The article mentions that some video stores added tanning booths, and they have cross promotions. What is the tax when a tanning session comes free with four video rentals? No one knows. Why should we have to waste our time answering such stupid questions? No one knows.
There is a significant cohort of people who think that tanning salons are unhealthy, and that belief motivated them to support this tax. If tanning salons go out of business, if Americans stop exposing themselves to UV rays, so much the better, seems to be their rationale.
On the other hand, new research has shown that aversion to the sun has led to widespread vitamin D deficiencies. Maybe not such a healthy idea after all.