Laws for the tattoo industry
Laws for the tattoo industry impact any person who:
- tattoos another person
- carries on a business providing tattoo services
- is an employee at a tattoo business
- sells or supplies tattooing equipment.
Cosmetic tattooing which resembles make-up or tattooing that is performed in the course of medical treatment are exempt.
Lodge a notification
All tattooing service providers must notify Consumer and Business Services (CBS) by completing the electronic notification form.
Sub-contractors and visiting artists
If you have a sub-contracting arrangement with another tattoo business, or are visiting from interstate or overseas to provide tattoo services, you still need to lodge a notification to the Commissioner.
- you should list your registered premises as the place you predominantly provide tattooing services from eg- tattoo parlour, tattoo show location
- you do not have to provide a copy of the lease agreement for the premises if you are not the person leasing the property
- you can add a comment at the end of your notification form that you are a sub-contractor or just visiting SA temporarily
Certain persons can be disqualified from providing tattoo services, including members of organised crime gangs and their associates. For detailed information regarding disqualifications see the Disqualification Guideline (PDF 116KB).
It is an offence to provide tattooing services if you are disqualified. The maximum penalty is $250,000 for a company or four years imprisonment for an individual.
Requirements for tattoo businesses
Businesses that provide tattoo services are required to keep particular records and provide certain information to CBS, such as the name and address of company directors and all employees. It is an offence to fail to provide the required information or to provide false or misleading information.
Business owners must:
- Notify CBS that you are carrying on a business which provides tattoo services; and
- Ensure that all of your employees, who are tattooists or who sell tattooing equipment, also notify CBS.
Failure to notify may result in a maximum penalty of $100,000 or one year imprisonment for an individual or a fine of $250,000 for body corporates.
There are no up-front or on-going fees.
Tattoo service providers must notify CBS if they plan to participate at a tattoo show, convention or fair in South Australia.
Drugs and weapons
It is also an offence to have a firearm, explosive, weapon or dangerous article on premises where tattoo services are provided. SA Police have increased powers in relation to drug detection and weapon and explosive searches at tattoo premises.
Advice and further information
Tattoo parlour owners are encouraged to seek their own advice about the impact that this legislation has on their business.
For further information:
- Frequently asked questions (PDF 200KB)
- Disqualifications – Reasons a person or company may be disqualified (PDF 116KB)
- Guidelines for Tattoo Service Providers – for businesses and employees (PDF 155KB)
CBS does not provide a public list of disqualified persons. If you need to check the status of a person (such as your employee) you should in the first instance ask them for their confirmation email from CBS. Alternatively, you can complete the form below to obtain a response from our office.
Information for businesses that provide tattooing, piercing and body modification services is also available from: