Can a Gym Membership Be a Tax Write-Off?


Balance Pro Staff

updated on

April 9, 2023

Are you wondering if you can deduct your gym membership as a business expense on your taxes? While most gym memberships are considered personal expenses and cannot be written off, there are some exceptions to this rule. In this article, we'll explore whether a gym membership can be considered a tax write-off and under what circumstances. We'll also cover what qualifies as "ordinary and necessary" expenses, and other creative write-offs you can consider for your business expenses. So, let's dive in and find out if a gym membership can be a tax write-off.

Can You Deduct Your Gym Membership as a Business Expense?

Are you hoping to claim your gym membership as a tax deduction? Unfortunately, you might be out of luck. In most cases, gym memberships are considered a personal expense and cannot be written off on your taxes. Don't get too discouraged, though - there are some exceptions to this rule.

If you're a freelancer, small business owner, or self-employed professional who needs to stay in shape for your work, you may be able to make a case for deducting your gym membership expenses. As long as you can show that going to the gym is ordinary and necessary for your trade or business, it could be a deductible expense. Keep in mind that this exception won't apply to everyone, but it's worth exploring if you think you might qualify.

What are "Ordinary and Necessary" Expenses?

Describing your business expenses as "ordinary" or "necessary" might seem like a foreign concept, but it's actually quite simple. An ordinary expense is something that's common in your industry - for example, sheet music for a vocal coach. While it might not be a typical business expense in most fields, it's an obvious cost for music teachers. On the other hand, a necessary expense is something that's essential to running your business. In the case of vocal coaches, sheet music is not only a common expense, but also an essential one, as they need to have a selection of music to accommodate their students.

So, can a gym membership be considered a business expense? Only if it meets both of these requirements - it must be both common and essential to your particular trade or business. If you can make a strong case for why going to the gym is ordinary and necessary for your work, then you may be able to deduct the cost of your membership on your taxes.

Gym Memberships Might Be Tax-Deductible If…

It's not easy to make the case for deducting gym memberships as a business expense, especially for freelancers. However, there are some jobs that may qualify for this deduction.

For Personal Trainers

Personal trainers, for example, may be able to deduct their gym membership fees. Since they help people reach their fitness goals, it's a common expense for them to have. Many trainers don't own their own fitness facilities and need to use a gym to meet with clients. If this applies to you, you may be able to deduct a portion of your gym membership fees on your taxes.

To calculate your deduction, you'll need to determine the percentage of your gym use that's related to business. For example, if you meet with clients at the gym 10 times a week and exercise on your own five times a week, the business portion of your membership would be 75% (15/20 = 0.75). This means you could write off 75% of your gym membership fees as a business expense.

Alternatively, if you operate your personal training business out of a home gym, you may be eligible to take a home office deduction. You can also deduct the full cost of equipment purchased for your business.

Can You Deduct Your Gym Membership as a Medical Expense?

There's a lot of confusion and misinformation out there about whether gym memberships can be claimed as medical deductions. The truth is that gym memberships are never considered eligible medical deductions by the IRS.

However, if a physician prescribes weight loss activities following a diagnosis of conditions like obesity, hypertension, or heart disease, the associated costs may be included in a person's itemized medical expenses. This can include participation in support groups and weight reduction classes, as well as fees charged by the gym specifically for these activities.

It's important to note that while the IRS allows deductions for these weight loss activities, it specifically prohibits deductions for gym memberships themselves. So, if you're hoping to deduct the cost of your gym membership as a medical expense, unfortunately, it's not an option.

Finding Other Tax Write-Offs

While gym memberships may not be tax-deductible, there are still plenty of other creative write-offs that you can consider for your business expenses.

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing and advertising expenses, such as website fees, professional headshots, and sponsoring local events, can be written off as business expenses. Any costs used to promote your company or brand can be included in this category.

Software Expenses

If you use file-sharing software, CRM programs, bookkeeping tools, or other software programs to help manage your business, you can deduct the cost of these tools on your taxes. Even apps like Renpho that you use to track your clients' body composition stats can be included in this category.

Equipment Costs

Equipment costs can also be written off as business expenses. This can include work computers, tablets, camera and audio equipment, printers, and even stereos if you use them in your classes.

Continuing Education or Training

Classes or events that help you improve your skills or expand your industry knowledge are fully tax-deductible. For example, if you're a yoga instructor, taking a weekend retreat to further your craft would qualify as a deductible expense.


If you want to make sure you're maximizing your savings during tax season, consider using Balance Pro to automatically scan your purchases for potential deductions. Balance Pro is a tool that can help you keep track of your business expenses and identify eligible deductions, such as the ones we've discussed here.

By using Balance Pro to manage your expenses, you can streamline the process of tracking your deductible purchases and ensure that you're not missing any opportunities to save on your taxes. With the help of Balance Pro, you can focus on running your business and let the tool handle the heavy lifting of tracking your expenses and identifying eligible deductions.

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This post is for informational uses only and is not legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult with an attorney, business advisor, or accountant with concepts and ideas referenced in this post. Balance Pro assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained in this article.

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