Axing the Tan Tax

Four years of ASA lobbying efforts have Congress finally seeing the light: ‘The Tan Tax’ was a total failure

If Benjamin Franklin’s adage is true that nothing is certain but death and taxes, then it should also be said that eliminating a tax is virtually next to impossible.

And yet, after four years and more than 1,200 meetings with members of Congress on Capitol Hill, the American Suntanning Association’s cornerstone lobbying objective – repealing the devastating 10 percent Tan Tax – is one Senate vote, conference committee and presidential signature away from being history. That’s because the U.S. House of Representatives voted May 4 to repeal the Tan Tax as part of the American Health Care Act of 2017.

There’s work left to do, but the Tan Tax is closer to the scrap heap than ever. What had to happen to make the impossible possible?

“The amount of effort that went into putting us in this position is beyond colossal,” ASA President Melinda Norton said. “The ASA federal lobbying team – both staff and volunteers – has put tens-of-thousands of hours into telling our story on Capitol Hill: that the tax failed as a revenue producer for Obamacare, closed more than 9,000 businesses, killed 95,000 jobs and pushed those who wish to use sunbeds into non-salon tanning where sunburn was more likely. Congress understands: It’s hard to imagine any other way the tax could have been a failure.”

Click here to read the entire article in the latest issue of Smart Tan Magazine online.

Nashville Event Registration Now Open

Register now for the ASA World Summit Conference and Open Board Meeting, Oct. 6-7 at the Music City Center in downtown Nashville, for just $79.

This Friday and Saturday event will focus on the most critical issues facing your business and our industry. Market leaders will attend meetings to discuss the state of the tanning industry including government regulations, legal actions, industry research, what you can and can’t say in your salon, and more. There will also be breakout sessions for salon managers and operators focusing on frontline sales and new products and services. Vendors will be showing new products and services in a table top exhibit area.

With your $79 registration fee you will also receive lunch on Saturday and one cocktail beverage ticket each day of the show! All of this in the heart of one of the top rated vacation destinations in the country, beautiful downtown Nashville!

ASA has negotiated special rates with Renaissance Nashville Hotel. Room blocks are limited; book early to ensure the best rate and location. Click here to reserve your room at the special rate.

Click here to register for the ASA World Summit Conference and Open Board Meeting for just $79.

A Victory for the Tanning Industry!

After weeks of debate, the U.S. House of Representatives just passed the repeal of the 10% Tan Tax as part of the American Health Care Act of 2017, the replacement of Obamacare. In this House version the Tan Tax will be repealed effective December 31, 2017. This vote is very encouraging but only the first step in the legislative process.  The bill will now move to the Senate where it is likely to be amended and will then return to the House. The ASA advocacy team will continue to fight for the Tan Tax repeal to remain in the bill as it moves through the legislative process and hopefully to the desk of President Trump.

While the bill still needs to pass the Senate, this is a tremendous victory for the ASA and the entire industry.  Thank you to all of you who have supported the ASA and our federal advocacy efforts.

If you would like to review the bill the Tan Tax Repeal can be found on page 123:

Thank you for your support,

American Suntanning Association

American Suntanning Association Applauds Congressional Repeal of Failed “Tan Tax”

10% tax has devastated an industry, resulting in the closure of nearly 10,000 small businesses and loss of 100,000 jobs since 2010

WASHINGTON, DC (March 8, 2017) – The American Suntanning Association (ASA) today endorsed action taken by Congress to repeal the 10% federal excise tax on indoor tanning. The repeal is included in the draft American Health Care Act introduced this week by Congress.

“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 Melinda Norton.

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.

At the same time, the tax has generated less than one-third 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.

In addition, a recent study published by world-renowned researchers finds insufficient sun exposure to be an emerging health problem in the United States, and calls for our government to alter its public health advice from one of sun avoidance to a recommendation of regular non-burning sun exposure for most Americans.

“The tan tax is a perfect example of misguided government policy, implemented with little forethought or regard for the American public, and we applaud Congress for taking action to repeal it,” Norton added.


The American Suntanning Association (ASA) 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

Building a Future for Indoor Tanning

The new federal government administration has instilled great hope in our industry and opened the door for the degree of political change that the American Suntanning Association has been working toward for the last four years. Now is the time for our industry to stand united and maximize our opportunity to set our businesses up for long-term success.

The ASA’s efforts are making a real difference for the industry and for your business, but we can’t do it alone. There is no better time to get involved with the only organization positioned to build a future for your business.

The ASA has developed a multi-part campaign to stem the tide of unfair attacks against our industry. Our actions have included working on Capitol Hill to repeal the tan tax and keep it from resurfacing; initiating litigation against the Nebraska Cancer Coalition to stop the CDC-funded “Bed is Dead” campaign; and working with the CDC and FDA to better understand our scientifically supported position.

Today we are in the best position ever to stop the attacks and to change public perception of indoor tanning. Here is what the ASA is doing to continue to improve the future outlook for all of our businesses:

FEDERAL PLAN                                    

ASA has conducted hundreds of meetings in our nations capitol, educating legislators about our scientifically supported position.

  • The Tan Tax will be eliminated with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but ASA has to work to ensure that it doesn’t get added back into a replacement healthcare bill.
  • Meetings and communications with the CDC are designed to change the government’s position to a more balanced message about UV light and indoor tanning.
  • FDA Proposed Rules Response – 300+ page submission; one-on-one meetings; More than 10,000 industry submissions. ASA’s scientific rebuttals have impacted the FDA’s attempt to further regulate our market.


The tanning industry must be acutely aware of state and federal regulations governing the marketing or public discussion of indoor tanning. ASA has spent significant time and energy to ensure our communications are within the law as we seek to positively influence public perception of indoor tanning.

  • ASA communications efforts have helped reduce the negative media attention experienced by the industry in previous years.
  • Our efforts have been critical in educating members of Congress about the issues impacting our industry.
  • We are continuously developing and implementing new initiatives that will net considerable results for the industry in 2017 and beyond.


ASA is devoting considerable resources to stop the flow of false and misleading information about our industry and your business.

  • ASA’s legal efforts represent the strongest pushback in the history of our industry against anti-tanning forces.
  • We believe the latest UV-related science will prevail over anti-tanning rhetoric, and the right forum is in a court of law.

That’s why the ASA-backed litigation in Nebraska is so important. If successful, the suit will provide a precedent to be used against other anti-tanning groups to stop misstatements made about indoor tanning.


Our opponents are driving new under-18 bans already in 2017 as well as lobbying individual state departments for additional regulation of our industry. ASA is already traveling to states working with lobbyists and legislators alongside local salon groups and taking proactive measures to educate state regulators in the following areas:

  • The meaning and intent of recommended exposure schedules.
  • The industry’s best practices already in place.
  • Science demonstrates the sun abstinence message from the government is doing more harm than good to human health.


ASA’s scientific team has spent nearly seven years parsing every piece of UV-related research in existence, and collaborating with the world-leading pro-UV experts. As a result, our efforts have yielded:

  • Dozens of conversations with many of the world’s leading scientists regarding UV light, sunbeds and melanoma.
  • Many scientists taking action with research development, letters to Congress, and meetings with government agencies.
  • Proof that much of the anti-tanning research cited by the government and some within the medical industry is incorrect.


All of these activities are funded solely by the support of indoor tanning businesses like yours. We urge you to invest in protecting your business by becoming a member or making a contribution to the ASA. Please get involved to protect the future of our industry and your business by joining the ASA. Contact the ASA at or by calling: 855-879-7678.