Poor Snooki. She and her Jersey Shore buddies are going to have to deal with the real sun this summer if they want to keep their tans.
That, or the MTV reality (or so they say) show personalities (sorry, I couldn't bring myself to type "stars") will have to pay extra next month to be bronzed in a tanning bed.
On July 1 the 10 percent tax on UV tanning services takes effect. This is part of the health care overhaul law. In case you don't remember, the tanning tax replaced a proposed levy, dubbed the Bo-Tax, on elective cosmetic surgeries.
I guess the nip and tuck folks have a better lobbying crew than do tanning bed operators.
Yes, it does seem silly. But from a budgetary standpoint, the tanning tax is projected to raise $2.7 billion for the U.S. Treasury over the next decade.
And proponents of the tax pushed the measure through by noting its health benefits. They cited studies that indicated increased skin cancer rates among some tanning bed users.
How nice that the tax had a nice better-health hook to the health care reform law. And isn't it nice that Congress so wants to make sure our tax dollars help us be in better physical shape?
Twittering taxes: Yeah, as I said, Snooki, known to her mother as Nicole Polizzi, is not amused either.
In a recent promo spot for the upcoming season of the television show, she complained about the tax. And to prove that she thinks about more than The Situation's abs, she opined that "McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning, because he's pale and he would probably want to be tan."
The Republican senior senator from Arizona took note of her remarks (who knew he was a fan?) and, being a hip and happening lawmaker, McCain shot off a Twitter message to Snooki, utilizing the appropriate texting shorthand: "@Sn00ki u r right, I would never tax your tanning bed! Pres Obama's tax/spend policy is quite The Situation. but I do rec wearing sunscreen!"
Snooki, obviously well-versed in social media etiquette, promptly responded with, "Haha. Yes!!"
Tan tax rules: However, while McCain and Snooki were busy becoming new BFFs on the Intrawebz, the IRS was getting the last word on the tanning tax.
The agency issued regulations on the new charge, which will be added to tanning customers' bills.
There is, however, a tiny bit of good news for fake tan aficionados.
The new IRS rules offer an exception for "certain physical fitness facilities" that offer tanning as an incidental service without a separately identifiable fee.
So where the tanning service is a bonus to a regular gym service, the indoor bronzing is not taxed.