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Tax on Tanning

Starting next month, companies that provide tanning bed services are required to add a 10 percent tax on the service as part of the health care reform bill passed by Congress earlier this year. The Indoor Tanning Association says that this could hurt small tanning salons. However, according to the International Smart Tan Network, a majority of tanning salon owners surveyed have yet to be notified about how to collect the tax.

The tax comes after the cancer division of the World Health Organization listed tanning beds as a known carcinogen and after a panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration recommended tighter controls on tanning beds. In addition, some state legislatures are considering laws banning tanning for people under 18.

The Indoor Tanning Association, however, shares research on its site about the vitamin D benefits of tanning. The International Smart Tan Network says, "Moderate tanning, for individuals who can develop a tan, is the smartest way to maximize the potential benefits of sun exposure while minimizing the potential risks associated with either too much or too little sunlight." The International Smart Tan Network also takes exception to a recently released study stating that tanning beds increase cancer risk.

Let me know if your facility has been contacted by the IRS about how to collect the tax. Also, how will this tax affect your tanning business? What do you think about tanning and the recent legislative efforts? Do you think tanning beds are safe or a liability issue at clubs? E-mail me at, and your comments could be included in an upcoming story about tanning services at health clubs.

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