Cosmetic Procedures In New Jersey Are Soon to Be Tax-Free
EDISON, NEW JERSEY – During a New Jersey Legislation session in early January 2012, Governor Chris Christie decided to review an 8-year-old 6 percent tax on elective plastic surgery.
In 2004 the law was passed to tax plastic and cosmetic surgery in New Jersey as an effort to raise funds in the state. Initially the tax was supposed to bring in more than $25 million in its first year, but it didn’t work as well as planned and only brought in $7 million.
The law includes only cosmetic medical procedures that are directed at improving the patient’s appearance and do not promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease.
“I can perform a nasal surgery on someone to help them breathe better and they do not have to pay the tax,” said Dr. Andrew Miller, a New Jersey facelift and plastic surgeon. “But if that same person came in and wanted to have a nasal surgery to improve their self-confidence, they would have to pay the tax. It’s absurd.”
The reason the tax did not bring in as much revenue as the state expected is because prospective patients who wanted a better rate drove to nearby states like New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
“While we do have an office in New York, most of our patients still came to our New Jersey offices to have their surgeries performed, despite the tax,” said the NJ rhinoplasty and breast augmentation professional. “Of course, our patients complained because they were being taxed twice by the state.”
When someone comes to us for an elective procedure, they are typically paying with their net income, which the state has already taxed when they received their paycheck, said Dr. Miller, the NJ plastic surgeon. With this law, the patients are being taxed yet again when they are using the money to not only stimulate the economy, but improve themselves as well.
“I will be glad when this tax is phased out because I was never a fan of it,” the New Jersey facelift specialist said. “It was a burden on our practice to collect the extra money, handle the additional paperwork and pay the bill every quarter. I can foresee our practice running a lot smoother now.”
The current 6 percent tax will be phased out gradually between now and July 2013, dropping 2 percent immediately, then an additional 2 percent in July and again until it is gone.
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