10% tax has devastated an industry dominated by women, resulting in the closure of nearly 10,000 small businesses and loss of 100,000 jobs since 2010
WASHINGTON, DC (January 7, 2016) – The American Suntanning Association (ASA) today endorsed action taken by Congress to repeal the 10% federal excise tax on indoor tanning. The repeal was included in the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, which passed in both the House and Senate and now goes to the President for action.
“We applaud Congress for taking action to repeal this onerous and unfair tax, which has crippled an industry and hurt small business owners across the country,” said ASA President Bart Bonn. “We urge President Obama to sign the bill into law.”
Since the tan tax went into effect in 2010, approximately 10,000 small business-owned salons – more than half of all tanning salons in the U.S. – have closed, resulting in the elimination of nearly 100,000 jobs in communities across the country, in an industry heavily dominated by women owners and employees.
“The tan tax is an example of a misguided policy, implemented with little forethought, which turned out to be the real ‘war on women’ over the past five years,” noted Bonn.
In addition, the tax has generated less than 1/3 of the revenue projected by the Congressional Budget Office, or an average of only $84 million per year. With the IRS allocating $11 million annually to collect and administer the tax, coupled with Small Business Administration loan defaults and the loss of income and payroll taxes from closed salons, the net impact of the tax has arguably been negative to the U.S. Treasury.
“The President committed that no family making less than $250,000 a year would see any form of tax increase on his watch,” noted Bonn. “Unfortunately, that has not been the case with the tan tax which impacts millions of Americans at all income levels who enjoy tanning.”
Repeal of the tan tax has gained momentum in Washington since the introduction in July 2015 of HR 2698, “The Tanning Tax Repeal Act of 2015.” During 2015, the repeal garnered bi-partisan support, with 79 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, signing on as co-sponsors of the bill.
The American Suntanning Association is a Section 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization representing professional sunbed salon owners committed to responsible and balanced sun care. The ASA urges a facts-based discussion among the industry, medical community and government regarding the risks and benefits of UV exposure. For more information, visit www.americansuntanning.org
Earlier this year, tanning salon operators in Nebraska, supported by the American Suntanning Association (ASA), filed a lawsuit in Nebraska state court against the Nebraska Cancer Coalition (NCC), and two of its officers, alleging defamation and violation of the Nebraska Deceptive Trade Practices Act. In response, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the action, arguing that the plaintiff salon operators had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
In a decision entered November 24, 2015, the Nebraska District Court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In ruling in favor of the plaintiff salon operators, the Court found that the complaint alleged facts sufficient to state a claim against both the NCC and the two individually named defendants, for both defamation and violations of the Nebraska Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
As part of its ruling, the Court found that the lawsuit sufficiently stated facts showing the alleged false and defamatory statements made by the defendants in their “The Bed Is Dead” campaign (www.thebedisdead.org), were made in the course of the defendants’ business, vocation, or occupation. In so ruling, the Court relied on plaintiffs’ allegations that the defendants’ anti-tanning campaign was:
“a coordinated scheme [that] is funded in part by individuals and commercial entities having a direct financial interest in generating negative publicity about indoor tanning salons, including the sunscreen and cosmetic industries and those providing UV light treatments in medical facilities,” and that
“Dr. Watts and other members of the NCC have a financial interest in destroying Plaintiffs’ businesses, as Dr. Watts and others in his industry seek to offer cosmetic dermatology services to Plaintiffs’ customers, in place of those services provided by Plaintiffs.”
The Court also noted in its ruling that “Defendants’ statements, as alleged by Plaintiffs, prejudice Plaintiffs in their profession, trade, and business” and that “Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that Defendants’ statements are defamatory per se.”
To review the ruling, and find out more information about the suit, please visit Nebraskatanfacts.com. To contribute to a dedicated fund to support this litigation (your contribution may be tax deductible as a business expense), please visit the ASA Legal Fund’s GoFundMe page.
Omaha, Nebraska (July 22, 2015) – Today, seven small business owners operating 30 tanning salons in the Omaha and Lincoln markets filed a lawsuit in state court against the Nebraska Cancer Coalition (NCC) and two of its officers. The action states that the plaintiffs have been harmed as a result of false, misleading and defamatory statements made by the NCC about their businesses and the indoor tanning industry.
“Small businesses in Nebraska are suffering, and consumers are being misled, as a result of the misinformation being put out by the NCC,” said Bart Bonn, president of plaintiff Ashley Lynn’s, Inc., the Palm Beach Tan franchisee in Nebraska. “We advocate moderate and sensible UV exposure for Nebraska citizens who choose to tan, and pride ourselves in operating our businesses within both FDA guidelines and the law. It is both unfair and unlawful for the NCC to attack our businesses with a campaign full of deception and untruths.”
The complaint alleges that through an orchestrated campaign known as “The Bed is Dead,” the NCC committed defamation and violated the Nebraska Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The filing highlights the fact that the American Suntanning Association (ASA), an industry trade group in which the plaintiffs are members, contacted NCC on multiple occasions over an 11-month period, documenting the inaccuracies and misleading elements of its campaign and asking the NCC to make corrections.
“It is unfortunate that Nebraska tanning salon owners must seek relief in the legal system to preserve the right to operate our businesses free from misinformation and attacks,” said Curt Bowen, president of plaintiff JB & Associates, Inc., the Sun Tan City franchisee in Nebraska. “But in this case, our very livelihoods are on the line.”
The suit asks that the defendants correct their misstatements to the public and refrain from engaging in further deceptive trade practices and defamatory statements. The full lawsuit, including detailed scientific information supporting the plaintiffs’ claims, is available at www.Nebraskatanfacts.com.
Plaintiffs’ efforts are being supported by the American Suntanning Association (ASA), a Section 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization representing nearly 1,000 tanning salons throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.americansuntanning.org.
Please take 60 seconds to help us repeal the unfair Tan Tax!
The American Suntanning Association is working to gain support for the “Tanning Tax Repeal Act of 2015,” and you can do your part by taking 1 minute to contact your representative through our simple online form. This bill would completely repeal the 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services that was introduced in 2009.
To ensure success for our industry, we need all salons to contact their representative and urge them to support H.R. 2698. We can’t stress how crucial it is for salons to get involved in this process.
We’ve made it easy for you to contact your representative:
Based on our past experiences, salon participation has been extremely helpful when it comes to the legislative process. Please take minutes to send this letter and also call or visit your representative. This bill could make a huge impact on your business and our industry, so you need to make sure your representative knows it’s important enough to support.
Another way to help is by getting your customers involved. We’ve provided a link to share with your customers so they can submit letters to their representative as well. In the past, salons have sent this link to their customers through email and some have even setup laptops in their salons for customers to submit letters with. The more letters of support we send to congress, the more likely we are to see this bill pass.
If you are interested in getting involved in other ways, please reply to this email with your contact information. We’ll get in touch with you if further action is necessary.
Thank you for your support!
American Suntanning Association
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Suntanning Association (ASA) applauded the introduction Tuesday of a bill by Rep. George Holding (NC-13) to repeal the 10 percent federal excise tax on indoor tanning services enacted in 2010. HR 2698, “The Tanning Tax Repeal Act of 2015,” is currently co-sponsored by 14 Republicans and two Democrats.
“Representative Holding has shown his commitment to America’s small businesses by introducing this bill,” said ASA President Bart Bonn. “The tan tax is an example of a misguided policy, implemented with little forethought, which has crippled an industry and cost tens of thousands of jobs in communities across America.”
More than 9,000 salons – roughly half of all tanning salons in the U.S. – have closed since the tax was imposed in 2010 and resulted in the elimination of 76,000 jobs, in an industry heavily dominated by female business owners and employees. At the same time, the tax has generated less than 1/3 of the revenue projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) when the tax was implemented.
“We look forward to the speedy advancement of this legislation and the respite it will bring to small business owners throughout the country,” added Bonn.
The American Suntanning Association is a Section 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.americansuntanning.org