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Jul 1, 2010 7:26 PM by Andy Koen

Tanning bed tax begins

Getting a nice tan will cost you more green now that the federal tanning salon tax is in effect.

The IRS expects to collect some $2.7 billion in taxes from tanning salons over the next decade, but local salons owners are worried that the 10 percent price increase will hurt their businesses.

"Were frustrated," said John Hermes who owns the EuroTan Spa in Colorado Springs.

"Obviously the government is doing what they think they need to collect money to pay for this health care bill but I think they've gone in the wrong direction and that is going after small businesses," Hermes said.

Manager Randi Yocham says some clients have simply accepted the price increase, but most have been very upset.

"It is difficult on this side because you've got your clients that you see everyday coming in upset with you and you have to explain to them, okay it's not me giving you the 10 percent," Yocham explained.

Like many salon owners, Hermes has tried to soften the financial blow by expanding into other services such as spray tanning, which is exempted from the tax. 

Still, he feels that the government's action will eventually hurt the local economy.

"In my opinion it's going to increase unemployment which eventually is going to lead to the economy taking a lot longer to recover."

Not everyone is frustrated with the tax.  Dermatologist Dr. Brett Matheson of the Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center of Colorado Springs says his clinic has been seeing much younger patients recently. He says the increase is being driven by tanning bed use.

"The UVA intensity of tanning booths is much higher than the sun and it's those UVA rays that cause premature wrinkling of the skin, a leathery appearance to the skin over time and ultimately, in some people skin cancer."

Hermes and Yocham disagree.  They insist that their service is safe when the proper guidelines are followed.

The tanning lobby is planning a legal challenge to the health care law.

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