We Are Sunshine

Taxing Tanning: The $3.3 billion Mistake

Thursday, July 1st, 2010


Congress’ decision to place a 10 percent luxury tax on indoor tanning starting today to help fund the U.S. Health Care Reform Act of 2010 will actually raise the cost of health care reform by $3.3 billion to U.S. taxpayers.

“The tax on tanning will raise an estimated $1.7 billion over 10 years, which is $3.3 billion less than Congress said it needed from the 5 percent tax on Botox injections and elective plastic surgery,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “So in trading down $3.3 billion, we assume that additional cost will be borne by taxpayers to pay for health care reform.”

The 10 percent tax on tanning was placed into the Health Care Reform Act in a back-room deal engineered by Botox suppliers and the dermatology industry to remove the “Botax”. The deal was struck after heavy lobbying of Senate Democrats by the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), the American Medical Association and California-based Allergan Corp., the manufacturer of Botox. The trio succeeded in shifting a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery procedures, which offer no known health benefits, onto the tanning industry.

“This back-room deal was brokered by the dermatology industry with senators without any due diligence nor any input from tanning retailers,” said International Smart Tan Network Vice President Joseph Levy. “The deal traded an affordable tax on purely elective cosmetic surgery for wealthy Americans and wealthy doctors for an onerous tax that will hurt middle-class women, will force women-owned businesses to close and will cost the country thousands of jobs.”