Is personal training tax deductible?
It’s a good question – and one we repeatedly address as tax day inches ever closer.
The short answer: it depends.
Here’s a general rule of thumb: an individual cannot claim any form of fitness training, exercise, nutritional supplements, or specialty foods simply because it’s something he or she wants. If it’s something you hope makes you look better, run farther, or feel thinner, the IRS considers it a personal expense, and that’s between you and your wallet.
However – and it’s a significant “however” – you may be able to claim a portion of your personal training as a medical expense assuming a doctor has diagnosed you with a particular condition, such as hypertension, obesity, or heart disease.
It is important to note, up front, that personal trainers cannot offer legal or accounting advice in any way, shape, or form.
Any and all questions regarding the filing of taxes and/or your tax return should be discussed with a trusted financial advisor and/or tax professional. He or she can help you confirm if any portion of your personal training is tax deductible.
That being said, medical expenses related to health institutes and weight loss programs are directly specified in in IRS Publication 502.
According to this publication, expenses related to membership in a weight reduction group connected to a medical diagnosis, in addition to fees from periodic meetings, may be claimed. And while membership dues to gyms or spas DO NOT qualify, separate fees charged for weight loss activities – such as specific personal training sessions – do.
Fees associated with a health institute are also included, assuming that they result from treatment prescribed by a medical professional to alleviate a medical condition, physical or mental defect, or disorder.
Similarly, nutritional supplements, vitamins, specialty and dietary foods can be claimed only:
- If ordered by a medical professional
- If alleviating or treating a medically diagnosed illness
- If it does not satisfy standard nutritional needs
Again, a good benchmark for whether or not personal fitness has a place on your tax return revolves around two questions: Is it medically necessary and has it been prescribed by a doctor?
If the answer is yes – consult a trusted tax professional or advisor asap. You may have a write-off on your hands.
If the answer is no, take heart. You still have the reassurance that you are doing right by your body by working toward a healthier lifestyle. And you can’t put a price tag on that.