New Taxes Could Increase the Price of Beauty

Now that we’ve established that attractive people earn more money, apparently it’s not just academics who are beginning to notice a difference in lifestyle. With state and federal governments looking to introduce some novel tax legislation, being beautiful could eventually become even more expensive.

With state governments toying with the idea of taxes on fat food and sodas, particularly to supplement healthcare costs, being overweight could soon carry with it an added tax burden. New York state and city officials are touting the fat tax, which could soon become a reality. But what about those who are already working hard to look beautiful? If a new federal tax is any indication, doing all that maintenance could become more costly.


After originally considering levying a tax on Botox procedures in the recently-passed health care legislation, tanning enthusiasts are about to feel that hit. The new 10 percent tax on the tanning business was an unexpected replacement for the Botox proposal. That tax now has industry insiders crying everything from elitism to racism. But a closer look at some taxation trends might show that it isn’t so much white people who are being targeted, but beautiful people.

The idea of looking to the beauty industries in tax legislation isn’t completely foreign. In Kenya, the government actually lowered taxes on cosmetics products last year in an effort to encourage women to look beautiful. But the Western world hasn’t looked to tax cuts when it comes to approaching beauty.  

In his popular book, “Feosexual,” writer Gonzalo Otolora proposes a tax in his native Argentina on beauty, claiming beautiful people enjoy an unfair advantage in society. Otolora even openly lobbied Argentine President Nestor Kirchner to consider the idea. The concept seems unusual, but it is being taken seriously by some people. Before targeting the tanning industry, the U.S. Senate proposed a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures in a shift that is could be seeing more consideration around the world.

Last year, while both the U.S. House and Senate were looking into new taxes on the beauty industries, France was looking into its own new tax targeting the cosmetics industry. In fact, the very concept of the beauty tax dates back over 200 years with the writings of Dean Swift. So with the size of the beauty industry and the favorable lives of the beautiful well documented, could governments around the globe soon be hating you because you’re beautiful?

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