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Tan tax burns MTV personality

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Posted: 1 pm ET
The Jersey Shore's Snooki Polizzi.

The Jersey Shore's Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi.

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.

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6 Comments
iagreewithsanity
June 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm

So, Ms. Bell, where do you think all of that tax money will go? Certainly not to health care reform. Most likely it will go to service the interest on the debt already owed. I already have health care provided under the auspices of the US Government. That is, I can get a checkup every year and some free meds. After that, I'm on my own. Soon all Americans can enjoy the level of care (neglect) that veterans currently receive. It seems that you really aren't a Taxpayer Advocate as this page claims, but are more worried about some loser reality TV star. It is suggested that you actually read the Health Care Reform Act prior making another comment.

iagreewithsanity
June 20, 2010 at 7:26 pm

So, Ms. Bell, where do you think all of that tax money will go? Certainly not to health care reform. Most likely it will go to service the interest on the debt already owed. I already have health care provided under the auspices of the US Government. That is, I can get a checkup every year and some free meds. After that, I'm on my own. Soon all Americans can enjoy the level of care (neglect) that veterans currently receive. It seems that you really aren't a Taxpayer Advocate as this page claims, but seem to be more worried about some loser reality TV star. It is suggested that you read the Health Care Reform Act prior making another inane comment.

THE TRUTH
June 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm

WAH WAH WAH. Get sun like a man. Should be happy you won't look like Hulk Hogan at 50.

sanityforall
June 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm

So gyms with nasty beds, cracked acrylics, lack of eye wear and untrained or absentee staff get a pass while professional tanning salons get slammed?

This useless health bill is chock full of these unfair and idiotic inconsistencies.

Let's repeal this joke and establish Medicare for All. It's is time to end the madness!