We are in the middle of tax season and many people are searching for every possible deduction to save some cash. Typically, gym membership fees are not tax deductible, but the possibility is there for those that may have had exercise prescribed by their doctor for a particular health issue.
Keep in mind that the IRS will not allow you to use your gym membership as a deduction if you are using it for overall health or weight loss. The membership fees may be deductible only if your doctor prescribes exercise at a gym to treat a medical condition or illness. Some of the conditions that might cause your doctor to prescribe using a gym are things like obesity, hypertension or certain mental illnesses.
As with any type of tax deduction, you want to make sure you are educated on the rules involved to avoid penalties or being audited. The three criteria for having a tax deductible gym membership include having a diagnosis from a medical doctor for a specific medical condition with written documentation, using the gym facilities to treat the diagnosed condition following your doctors instructions and you can’t have had your membership at the gym prior to being diagnosed with your medical condition. These criteria don’t seem so hard to meet considering more and more people are being diagnosed as obese and doctors are spending more time prescribing exercise to patients.
Although this is a great benefit to those that qualify, don’t let the fact that you may not qualify keep you from joining a gym or getting some exercise. Do some research and find the best deal available in your area. Find out if your job offers a discount at certain gyms and check out what types of specials are being offered at different facilities. If you can’t afford a gym membership, working out at home with DVDs or outside when the weather permits are other options.
Whether you choose to walk outside, workout to your favorite DVD or join a gym, incorporating regular exercise is important. Don’t let a possible tax deduction be your only motivation to move more. Choose a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise and a healthy diet because it will benefit your long term health.
February 26th, 2012