Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Proposed new tax would hit salons, barbers

I’m writing to address the possible taxation of services and the change back to printed medical safety data sheets (MSDS). There has been a lot of worry and concern regarding these issues though out the Cosmetology and Barber community.
I feel we already pay sales tax on all of the products we use on our clients. We charge sales tax on any products sold to clients. Salon owners pay federal and state income tax on those products sold that already had sales tax levied. Independent stylists’ actual income is service-based and is already taxed on the federal and state level. Salon owners with employees also pay the same. Taxing services like this feels like double taxation. We should tax our client’s haircuts, manicures, etc. and then again pay tax on this service when we do our own taxes? Again, this is wrong!
People in this industry and others are already hanging on due to the pandemic. We have still not seen some clients return to the salon. Our industry especially has been limited to 25% capacity even though there has been no spread related to salons, while restaurants and bars have had their capacities increased. We had added costs remodeling to make the salon safe, and now also these added issues as the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) is reverting to printed MSDS sheets for salons and barbershops. (We were given permission to have safety data sheets and MSDS in digital form a few years ago when OSHA changed, although the state never updated the written rules. They also have not updated the self-inspection form to current requirements) This is a waste of paper and ridiculous. Digital is so much easier to access, search and actually keep up to date, as companies in our industry are changing formulas frequently. Just another added cost to have these printed as most MSDS sheets are 4-15 pages per item, which translates to thousands of sheets (at 6-15 cents per page), several four-inch binders to accommodate them, which even when alphabetized would take a long time to search. And, honestly, in 30 years I’ve never once needed to.
I have written to the OPR, the governor, state legislators and Ann Wallace from Vermont Digger regarding these issues hoping to get some positive result. I have commiserated with other stylists who have also tried to address these issues with no luck.
One other note, services are not limited to my industry; also affected are accounting, bookkeeping, house cleaning, any one providing a service.
We need help. We do not need double taxation or added antiquated regulations. We are supposed to be a leading green state.
Iva Ford
Salon owner and stylist
New Haven

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