NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Tanning Tax: Another Casualty of Obamacare

July 6, 2015

In the wake of the King v. Burwell Supreme Court decision, Congress must now turn their attention to fixing the most harmful parts of the law. As it turns out, the Affordable Care Act has not been "affordable" for women who own tanning salons -- or their customers. The so-called Tanning Tax imposed a 10 percent excise tax on tanning bed services, in addition to state sales taxes and taxes paid by the tanning salon owner, writes Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Tanning Tax's impact on the tanning industry has been devastating. Since the tax was implemented in 2009, nearly 10,000 tanning salons have closed, according to the American Suntanning Association. This has resulted in a loss of 81,000 jobs. For instance:

  • In California, tanning salons employed 8,649 people in 2009; that number has fallen to 4,617.
  • Florida boasted 7,974 and now 4,617.
  • New York State had 5,508, and now has 2,755.
  • Texas saw a drop from 7,173 to 3,967.

Seventy percent of tanning salons are owned by women, while 95 percent of employees of tanning salons are women. In addition, women make up about three-fourths of tanning salon customers. The female owners, employees and the customers have become a casualty of the Tanning Tax. There are women business owners and employees who have lost businesses, jobs, and their livelihood, while customers are paying more for the service.

It is no surprise that some in Congress want to repeal the "Tanning Tax" and have introduced legislation. A good place to start would be to assist a specific sector of small businesses, comprised largely of women, that has been particularly affected by the legislation.

Source: Cherylyn Harley LeBon, "The Tanning Tax - Another Casualty of Obamacare", The Blaze, June 29, 2015.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues