Brazilians now enjoy a tax break for plastic surgery procedures

May 1, 2012

Brazilians now enjoy a tax break for plastic surgery procedures
Brazilians now enjoy a tax break for plastic surgery procedures

First we reported that low-income people in Brazil were receiving free plastic surgery, and now it seems like even the wealthy in the nation can receive a break when it comes to cosmetic procedures.

Allure magazine reports that the South American country has now made cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction and tummy tucks tax deductible. Furthermore, patients who underwent these cosmetic procedures in 2011 aren't the only ones who stand to benefit from the new tax law - the deductions are retroactive to procedures dating back to 2004.

"We concluded that cosmetic surgeries are also about health, physical and mental, and should be included in the list of deductible expenses," Brazil's tax coordinator, Joaquim Adir, told Bloomberg News.

Government officials believe that eliminating the tax on cosmetic surgical procedures will increase the number of individuals seeking them. It's good news for the country's plastic surgeons, who will likely see their business increase because of the new tax rule.

Brazil's Plastic Surgery Society reports the number of procedures performed in the country has increased by as much as 30 percent annually in recent years. Brazil, a common destination for medical tourists seeking discounted plastic surgery procedures, is the world's top plastic surgery provider, with the United States coming in second place, according to the Associated Press.

"Everybody wants to be beautiful," Brazilian plastic surgeon Sebastiao Guerra told the news provider. "But plastic surgery isn't just about vanity. In the majority of cases, there are psychological benefits too."

According to Allure, the U.S. federal government recently considered and rejected a plan to add a 5 percent tax onto cosmetic procedures. However, some states, such as Connecticut, do tax cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. Others, including California and Washington State, are considering adding a plastic surgery tax to increase revenues.

New Jersey recently repealed its so-called "Botax," which imposed a 6 percent tax on plastic surgeries and other elective procedures. According to Forbes, the tax will gradually be phased out by July 1, 2013. On March 1, 2012, it was reduced to 4 percent, and on July 1, 2012, it will drop to 2 percent. One year later - on July 1, 2013 - the tax will no longer be charged. Doctors there say that the tax caused many local patients to go out of state for plastic surgery procedures.

"When someone has plastic surgery, they're not only coming to a plastic surgeon," a New Jersey-based plastic surgeon told NPR. "They're utilizing a hospital or a surgery center; they're staying in local hotels; their family is eating in local restaurants; they're utilizing pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. So all of that revenue is lost."


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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