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Snooki, McCain and IRS talk tanning tax

It's true, politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows, or in this case, tanning-bedfellows.

Snooki_Jersey-Shore_tan-tax-Twitter The Jersey Shore diva Snooki, aka Nicole Polizzi, and erstwhile GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain apparently are new social media BFFs, bonded by their common dislike of the 10 percent tax on UV tanning bed services.

The bronzing bed levy is part of the funding for the new health care reform law. Collection of the tax kicks in July 1.

In a preview for the next installment her MTV show, Snooki notes that she doesn't use tanning beds anymore because "Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning."

Getting totally into the political swing of things, Snooki adds, "McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning, because he's pale and he would probably want to be tan."

And who took notice of such comments? McCain himself, although I'd bet that it was one of his younger staffers and/or a publicity person charged with tracking all things McCain (and maybe MTV, too!).

The veteran Arizona lawmaker (or his designated social media staffer) reached out via his Twitter account (a verified @SenJohnMcCain), to the reality TV show star:

"@Sn00ki ur right, I would never tax ur tanning bed! O's tax policy is quite The Situation. but I do rec wearing sunscreen!"

Props to the Senator (or staffer) for using texting shorthand and incorporating Snooki's costar Mike "The Situation" (pictured with her above) in the exchange.

It obviously did the trick. Snooki promptly responded back to the Senator: "Haha Yes!!"

Getting the last word: Of course, the final word on the tanning tax comes from the IRS.

The agency this afternoon issued regulations outlining the administration of the tanning tax.

In general, says the IRS, providers of indoor tanning services will collect the tax when the customer pays for the tanning services. The tanning business then will hand over those amounts to the government, quarterly, along with IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.

Some services, however, are off the tax hook.

The tax does not apply to phototherapy services performed by a licensed medical professional on his or her premises.  The regulations also provide an exception for certain physical fitness facilities that offer tanning as an incidental service to members without a separately identifiable fee. 

So, Snooki, if you take a spinning class and the gym throws in the tanning bed session as a bonus, you don't have to pay extra for your glow.

The IRS and Treasury Department invite comments from the public on the regulations.

But sorry, @SenJohnMcCain) and @Sn00ki. While the IRS does have a Twitter account (@InternalRevenue), it wants your thoughts on this tax via old-fashioned snail mail: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-112841-10), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044.

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Good eye, Shane! Thanks for the pointing out the e-comment option.

Shane Eloe


If you're allergic to paper, it looks like the IRS will also take electronic commentary via the site at

I think they were hoping most people wouldn't notice this at the very bottom of the press release.

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