Tan Tax Repeal
The American Suntanning Association’s state and federal lobby team have been working overtime on behalf of the industry during the COVID-19 crisis. Significant efforts were made to get the tan tax repeal language put into the first three coronavirus stimulus packages as well as other measures. This was made even more difficult due to the inability to meet with House and Senate Members face-to-face, which is usually the case when ASA President Melinda Norton travels to Washington once or twice a month. To make matters worse, everyone in DC was overwhelmed with health and economic issues related to the worst pandemic to hit the US in decades. “Trying to make our issues a priority is a big enough challenge when you’re alone in their offices,” said Norton. “Getting your voice heard in the middle of a crisis through emails and phone calls, made it nearly impossible.” At the end of the day, the tan tax repeal language was rejected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi thwarting Republican attempts to help tanning salon businesses by including it.
Tan Tax Payment Delay
Along with pushing for a total Tan Tax repeal, ASA’s federal lobby team was also beating the drum to get the 10% federal excise tax on tanning deferred several months to give our market time to get much needed financial assistance before having to write our first-quarter tan tax checks due on April 30. Melinda Norton and the Washington team contacted more than 150 members of Congress and the Senate encouraging them to contact the Treasury asking for a delay in the tan tax due date, and more than half reported that they contacted the Treasury on our behalf. Additionally, Melinda Norton sent a personal letter to Ivanka Trump asking for her assistance to support the women-owned tanning salon businesses from the harm caused by the tan tax and the coronavirus crisis.
Additionally, tanning salon owners rose to the occasion by sending more than 200 email letters to Members of Congress and the Treasury. Our industry truly stepped up and made a lot of noise about our issues, though it appears it has fallen on deaf ears. But we were not alone. Many industries, much larger than indoor tanning, have taken strong measures to push the Treasury to delay excise taxes without success. The oil and gas industry, and the trucking industry, are just a few. But we’re not done yet. Just like the larger industries fighting for a delay, ASA will now push for delaying the second, third, and fourth-quarter tax payments to the end of 2020.
ASA will continue to push to have this onerous and unfairly applied tax completely repealed as we are marching through Washington. There is talk of a fourth stimulus package expected in June. ASA is already making contact with decision makers to again attempt to get this unfair tax repealed once and for all. Everyone in Washington knows about this issue. The majority believe the tax is unfair and something should be done, but getting them to agree on what should be done is proving quite difficult. Many agree the tax should be repealed while others believe other tanning service providers should be taxed too. “We are working every angle to get the tax repealed, while simultaneously working to have the tan tax payment delayed until the end of the year,” said Norton. “We won’t stop until this tax, which is so unfair to women, is gone.”
Effort to Ensure Professional Tanning Salons are Amongst the First to Open
ASA also sent letters to governors in all 50 states to show why professional tanning facilities should be included in the first wave of businesses allowed to reopen. The information ASA created illustrates how professional tanning facilities are better suited than most businesses to meet or exceed social distancing, sanitizing, and consumer safety guidelines. Joe Levy, ASA Director of Scientific Affairs, worked with stakeholders in many states to make this happen. Several states had rolled tanning salons in with customer-contact businesses like hair and nail salons, which were not allowed to open with some Phase 1 openings. Levy, with the help of local salons and state regulatory counsel, was successful at reaching decision makers and showing them how professional tanning facilities are different from other salon businesses and that tanning salons meet or exceed the required social distancing and customer and employee safety standards. “Our team effort was effective at educating state leaders why tanning facilities should be grouped with retail and not with person-to-person contact salon businesses,” said Levy. “Professional tanning salons meet or exceed today’s coronavirus safety standards more than any other retail business.” Hopefully, this additional educational effort will impact state leadership as to the extremely high safety and sanitation standards found in professional tanning salons.
Founded in 2012, the American Suntanning Association is committed to defending and growing the industry through a detailed and proactive plan directed by an all-salon board and executed by more than two dozen management and consulting team members who specialize in this type of work.
Copyright 2016 ist Magazine