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Does the tanning tax discriminate?

The first health care related tax to go into effect is the 10 percent addition to the cost of UV tanning services. That starts on July 1.

Obviously, tanning bed operators and customers are not happy.

And as with other portions of the new health care law, lawyers have been weighing in.

Over at TaxProf Blog, a reader/attorney cites the 1995 Adarand Constructors v.  Peña Supreme Court case and wonders whether the new law is discriminatory.

I'm not a lawyer, but I can't see how this would be an issue.

True, most tanning service customers tend to be folks with lighter complexions. But artificial tanning isn't restricted to any one group.

And vanity is rampant in all races and ethnicities.

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irs tax attorney

Is it any more ridiculous than most discrimination claims you have heard over the years?

Bruce W.

Tanning can create many healthy benefits also.

There has not been one study that shows moderate, non-burning sun exposure, is anything but beneficial.

Humans have evolved because of the sun, not in spite of it.


As I watched the video, I thought the target industry was random. Why not hair salons? Manicure/pedicure salons?

No matter where taxes are raised, one would ask "why there?" I'd suggest we first eliminate the subsidies for tobacco growers and to the farmers paid to not grow things. Let the market decide.

The tanning does open a can of worms though. If I am going to be paying for your health care (well, not you in particular) how much can we tell each other what things to avoid? I suppose tanning creates its own problems just as cigarettes do.

Ed Harris

I have mixed emotions on this one. I don't tan like that so obviously I won't have to pay the tax. But...what's next? A tax on cans of tennis balls? That would hurt so I'll wait to see how far this goes.


I think this is a slippery slope. We need to cut back on government spending not tax service based businesses.


It is discrimination against the small business owners who operate tanning salons.
Running a legitimate small business is hard enough without the government putting additional taxes on you that will chase customers away.
Will the government tax the sun usage next when we lay out on the beach?

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