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Tax-Free Breast Implants: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Signs Bill Repealing Cosmetic Surgery Tax

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Starting in July of 2013, New Jersey residents getting botox injections, breast implants, and other various nips and tucks will be able to get the procedures tax-free thanks to a bill signed today by Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey On-Line reports.

The bill will gradually phase out the "cosmetic medical procedures gross receipt tax," a state tax imposed in 2004 requiring clinics to collect taxes on their procedures.

The bill defines cosmetic surgery as "any medical procedure performed on an individual which is directed at improving the procedure subject’s appearance and which does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease."

According to Forbes, the 8-year-old tax brings in as much as $10.8 million in annual revenue.

But Christie and the bill's other supporters have said enforcing the tax creates heavy burden on medical offices and those paying for the procedure.

"The phase-out provided by the bill will gradually alleviate the financial and administrative burdens associated with the tax," the bill states. "Since the gross receipts tax was imposed in 2004, the tax has increased overall costs for recipients of cosmetic medical procedures, and imposed an administrative burden on the medical offices billing the procedures and the State agencies charged with the administration and enforcement of the tax."

Controversy over taxes on cosmetic surgery erupted in 2009 when Senator Harry Reid proposed a 5 percent tax on elective procedures like Botox, which opponents quickly named the "Botax."

Facing opposition from the American Medical Association and the manufacturer of Botox, Democrats nixed the tax, which would have helped cover a tiny fraction of the cost of Obama's sweeping 10 year, $871 billion health care legislation, USA Today reported.

Instead, a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services was added to the healthcare bill. That tax is expected to generate $2.7 billion over the next ten years, according to CNN Money.