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Now is the time for the entire beauty industry to rally and communicate with Congress, urges salon leader and government affairs advocate Frank Zona.

Zona co-owns three Zona Professional salons in the Boston area and was a panelist on the recent “Staying Strong” webinar presented April 6 by Salon Today in partnership with ISBN. He encourages everyone in the professional beauty community to reach out to share personal experiences and continue to apply pressure to convince legislators to add in the long-overdue tip tax credit for salon, spa and barber businesses.

Zona and other industry-wide advocates are optimistic that the FICA tax credit could be included as early as May in phase 4 or 5 updates to COVID-19 recovery packages, and would be retroactive for at least two years, providing more cash and needed relief to salon businesses.

Listen to all of Zona’s message and tips on the webinar broadcast archive here and check out responses to questions posted by an active audience of more than 800 real-time webinar viewers.

Q. How much cash could this realistically put back into my hands to use to help keep my business afloat and when?

Zona: “It depends on how much accurate tip reporting was going on in your salon or spa, but in my estimation, if we can get the credit to be applied retroactively, then a typical salon might receive an immediate refund check equal to one payroll. For some that might mean $4,000; for others $100,000. What’s great is that it would not be a loan or a grant. It’s a refund of taxes previously paid. These salons deserve the credit and need it now. And the credit would be in place for future years. Let’s remember that there’s a challenging road ahead and all salons will need that credit going forward.”

Q. What is the most effective way to get involved and become a proponent for the tip tax credit right now?

Zona: “Since Congress is moving now, email frank zona at Don’t stress, just do it. Tell me who you are, what your role is (are you an owner, do you have employees, are you an employee, are you a manufacturer rep, etc.). Tell me the name of the salon or company you’re associated with. Tell me the full address so that I can look up the district.”

Q. Are there petitions we can sign or anything else we can do online to help push for the 45B tax credit?

Zona: “ISBN is part of several collaborative efforts across the industry, including support of initiatives from PBA ( which has great, fast ways to do this. But if you really want to make a difference, don’t stop there. A letter from you to the right person (which I will help you with, see above) will be by far the most powerful method. So, sign the digital petition in addition to emailing me and drafting a letter. For example, if you are in San Francisco, then you or your salon or company is in Nancy Pelosi’s district. A letter to her from you will go much further than an automatic petition, which is why I’m asking for you to let me help you.”

Q. What should I say if I want to reach out to my representative or congressperson? Do personal messages or stories make a difference?

Zona: “Personal is not only more powerful for the effort, it is more powerful for you. Do NOT be intimidated. Do NOT hesitate. You will NOT be perfect, but you don’t need to be. Few people in life take the time to ever participate in democracy. By telling your story (which I will help you with, if you like), it will make a much greater impression.”

Q. How do we think this crisis might impact states that have been trying to pass bills that would eliminate licensing requirements for cosmetologists?

Zona: “Crises always have impacts. During Katrina disaster, the Governors of the surrounding states issued executive orders to allow immediate reciprocity between states because stylists who were displaced from Louisiana ended up say in Texas. You will see multiple points of view and time will tell. My personal opinion is that licensing is valuable, and our state licensing boards could have done a better job directing the industry. But that means that we have a great opportunity to look at what worked, what didn’t, what could be changed and why. This can be a major wake-up call about the role of licensing. And lets’ face it, we are likely to face new and unique staffing challenges.”

More on the Salon Today/ISBN Webinar Series:

As salons, spa and barber businesses across the country work to manage responses to COVID-19, thousands of beauty business leaders from across the professional beauty industry gathered together online. In record-setting numbers, all segments of the community tuned in for the first two installments of a webinar series on coping through the crisis. Both broadcasts were presented by Salon Today in partnership with ISBN, the International SalonSpa Business Network of multi-unit businesses.

Engaged viewers posted hundreds of real-time questions during the interactive forums. Attendees sought ideas from peers and input from industry leaders, including Salon Today 200 salon owners and ISBN board members and other experts.

Access the Insights: Complete recordings and visual presentations from both webinars presented by Salon Today and ISBN are archived at To access more examples, templates and checklists that are updated and added to on a continuing basis, visit Salon Today’s “Salon Share” online portal of downloadable “Documents to Help You Through COVID-19” at, and the ISBN’s “Resources for the COVID-19 Financial Crisis” at

  • The first webinar aired March 18, right as the rolling shutdowns were happening, and featured Laura Ortmann of Ginger Bay salons, Emily Brown of V’s Barbershop, Scott Missad of Gene Juarez Salons and Spas, Rhoda Olsen of Great Clips, Debra Penzone of PENZONE Salons + Spas and Tamara Shealey of Politics Beauty and Barber. Watch here now>>.
  • The April 6 broadcast focused on business survival and what to do while waiting for salons to reopen: strategies for managing cash flow, accessing CARES Act relief, and thinking ahead to what the salon industry can do know to secure much-needed tip tax relief that could soon provide immediate (and retroactive) game-changing financial benefits. Panelists were Jordan Becker of Interlocks, CPA April McDaniel of Kopsa Otte, Edward Logan of Sport Clips and Frank Zona of Zona Professional. Watch here now.

Important disclaimer: While navigating response to COVID-19 and related business decisions, is critically important that every small business owner or leader consult with their company’s own personal financial, legal, HR and business advisors, consultants or coaches to assess the best options and actions for their individual, particular situation. All thoughts shared here are general dialogue on the overall professional beauty industry and cannot be considered legal, business or financial advice, but as a resource to help shape your own discussions with your advisors.

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