New Bill In Congress Could Give A Huge Tax Credit For Gym Memberships And Get You Off The Couch

by 6 months ago
spin class

iStockphoto / Bojan89

What if someone paid you to go to the gym, would that get you motivated? I’m assuming your answer is yes. Now, what if they didn’t pay you straight up but instead gave you a huge tax credit to get up off of your ass and start working out, would that still get you motivated? A new bill introduced in Congress this week by Jason Smith (R-Mo) could do exactly that. It would provide a huge tax credit for gym memberships, fitness classes, and other types of exercise efforts.

According to Forbes, 2 out of every 3 Americans are overweight or obese and on average an obese person is likely to incur $1,500 more per year in medical expenses than someone who is fit and this adds up to hundreds of millions per year for something that is completely preventable with diet and exercise.

The Personal Health Investment Today, or “PHIT” Act ” (H.R. 6312) put forth by Congressman Jason Smith is seeking to combat this by encouraging exercise and a healthy lifestyle by providing up to $1,000 in tax credits for gym memberships, fitness classes, and other forms of exercise. Some health insurance plans already provide reimbursements for people who go to the gym X number of days per month or year, but this would provide a serious $$$ incentive for everyone to exercise since everyone pays taxes.

Here’s how it would work. Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code currently gives a deduction for ‘medical care’ that falls under the following:

— the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body
— transportation primarily for and essential to medical care
qualified long-term care services
— for health insurance premiums

As you can see, that doesn’t cover gym memberships. The Personal Health Investment Today would add “qualified sports and fitness expenses” to the definition of ‘qualified medical care’ and the following would be included:

— membership at a fitness facility
— participation or instruction in a program of physical exercise or physical activity
— safety equipment used in a program (including a self-directed program) of physical exercise or physical activity

The bill would cap at $1,000 for married couples who file jointly and $500 for single filers. There would also be a $250 cap on ‘safety equipment’. Not included in this bill would be Golf, Hunting, Sailing, or Horseback Riding.

To read up on the potential issues with this bill you can click here to read the Forbes article in full.

TAGSExerciseGym MembershipHealthHR 6312Personal Health Investment TodayPHIT ActTaxes