Working as a personal trainer can be a fulfilling opportunity to help people on their transformation journeys. Like many specialized professionals, if you work as a personal trainer through your own company, as a freelancer, or independent contractor, you could benefit from some unique tax deductions. Read on to understand tax deductions for personal trainers.
Who Can Claim Personal Trainer Tax Deductions?
If you work as a freelancer, or independent contractor, or are self-employed, you can claim personal trainer tax deductions. Likewise, if you own a personal training business and employ other personal trainers, many of these deductions may apply to your business as well.
According to the IRS, an expense that is ordinary and necessary for business purposes can be deducted as a business expense. Possible deductions as a personal trainer include advertising, travel, gym or office cleaning, commissions paid, health insurance premiums, legal services, and professional services such as accounting.
Common Tax Deductions for Personal Trainers
Here are some of the most common tax deductions for personal trainers you can take this year.
If you rent a gym space, office space, or training facility, those rental costs can be deductible for business expenses. Likewise, if you own a gym space and have a mortgage, you may deduct the interest payments. In addition, you may deduct gym or office cleaning expenses.
As a personal trainer, equipment is one of your biggest costs after a training space. Free weights, weight machines, exercise bands, exercise equipment like treadmills or rowing machines, TRX bands, massage guns like Theragun, ice baths, saunas, specialized sporting equipment or balls, and any other equipment used as part of your training business are all deductible business expenses.
Large purchases like furniture, training machines, or a sauna must be depreciated over several years.
Using technology like computers, cameras, microphones, specialized training software, scheduling software, accounting software, payroll software, or tax preparation software is also a tax-deductible expense. If you develop a mobile app for your training business, it is also a deductible expense. As long as you keep receipts and accurate records, you can deduct the costs that are necessary and ordinary as a trainer.
If you participate in continuing education or training related to your career as a personal trainer, those educational fees can be a deductible business expense. Continuing education courses, license renewal fees, and professional memberships are also deductible.
In addition, fees for attending conferences, workshops, and other industry-related events are deductible business expenses. Keep receipts and records for all your professional development costs to claim the deduction.
If you’re required to wear a uniform as part of the personal training business, this is also a deductible expense. You can deduct the cost of the uniform, as well as its cleaning costs. As a personal trainer, this may also include shoes.
If you travel to clients, you may be able to deduct mileage. While overnight trips are less common for personal trainers, you may deduct the travel expenses if you travel for conferences, seminars, or educational training. Possible travel deductions include transportation by plane, car rentals, lodging expenses, and meals.
In addition, if you drive to get to new locations for training, you may deduct actual costs or take the IRS standard deduction, which is a flat rate of 65.5 cents per mile for 2023 and 67 cents per mile in 2024.
The cost of advertising your personal training business is a deductible business expense. This includes online advertising through social media, influencers, paid ads, ads placed in print media, billboards, car wraps, benches, and other paid advertising channels. You’ll need to keep accurate records of costs with receipts to take this deduction.
You may deduct expenses for insurance necessary for your personal training business. This can include professional indemnity or liability insurance and public and teacher liability insurance. Likewise, workers’ compensation insurance, if you have employees, is deductible. If you’re self-employed, your health insurance expenses are deductible.
To be deductible, the health insurance must:
- Be for yourself, your spouse, and any dependents.
- Not be eligible to participate in a health insurance program by your employer or your spouse’s provider.
- Not be paid through any kind of pre-tax program.
You can deduct the amount you paid for health insurance from your gross income without taking itemized deductions.
Professional and legal fees for your normal business operations may be deducted as a business expense. These include:
- Accounting services
- Legal services
- Scheduling software
- Accounting software
- Training software
- Other professional fees
Required Medical Exams
If you’re required to have a medical exam or regular medical checkups for your personal training work, the out-of-pocket costs are deductible business expenses. However, you may not deduct regular physical checkups, medication, or treatment not required for personal training jobs.
Student Loan Payments
You can deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid for the year if you have student loans. However, you usually can’t claim a deduction if your modified adjusted gross income is $185,000 or more, but you may speak with a financial advisor or tax professional about your situation.
Expenses That Personal Trainers Cannot Claim as Tax Deductions
While normal business expenses are deductible, there are some expenses you cannot deduct as a personal trainer, including:
- Regular medical visits: You cannot deduct the cost of your regular or ongoing medical care.
- Regular commuting mileage: The mileage for commuting to work for an office away from home is not a deductible business expense.
- Reimbursed expenses: In that case, it’s already no longer an expense.
- Personal trip expenses: Transportation, accommodation, or meals on a personal trip not directly related to your realtor business are not deductible.
- Fees from legal violations: You cannot deduct parking tickets, court fees, or other fees related to a legal violation.
- Life insurance premiums: If you’re the beneficiary, you cannot deduct life insurance costs.
How to Prepare for Tax Filing and Monitor Tax Deductions for Personal Trainers?
To prepare tax filings and track deductions for your personal training business, consider these tips:
- Start early: By setting up clear accounting systems or using trusted accounting software like doola Books, you can save time and headaches when preparing deductions.
- Track everything: You should keep receipts and file them carefully for all other business expenses. Tracking software or apps to help you organize expenses can save significant time.
- Create digital files: To save time preparing taxes, ask for electronic receipts for all expenses or scan physical receipts and save them into a single folder or cloud-based drive so you don’t have to search later.
- Consider getting help: As a busy professional, a certified public accountant or tax professional can help you prepare taxes or double-check accounting to maximize deductions and ensure accuracy.
- Find creative deductions: You can learn more about creative tax deductions here.
- Consider an LLC: Learn about LLC tax benefits for your business here.
How to Claim Write-Offs as a Personal Trainer on Your Tax Return?
You will usually report your 1099 income on Schedule C as a freelancer, contractor, or self-employed individual. You can also list your business-related expenses on Schedule C. Then, you will input the difference on Schedule 1 of Form 1040. After you input relevant income and expenses, you can use tax preparation software to fill out these forms automatically.
In addition, Section 179 of the IRC allows businesses to take an immediate deduction for business expenses of depreciable assets like computers, equipment, vehicles, and software. You can also learn more about filing self-employment tax here or find tax write-offs here.
Building Your Personal Training Business
Your personal training business depends on growing a reputation for excellent service and results. While you and your team can build the business by focusing on the customers, back-office support is essential for growth. Excellent tax preparation software can save time and increase accuracy in filings.
Consider doola Books to simplify bookkeeping. It’s designed for busy founders and can free up time to focus on your business goals. Or, get doola’s tax package to ensure compliance and online filings for worry-free tax time!
Are there limits on how much I can deduct for certain expenses as a personal trainer?
There are no set limits on how much a personal trainer can deduct. However, business expenses must be ordinary and necessary, in line with common expenses in the industry.
What records should I keep to support my personal trainer tax deductions?
To support personal trainer business expense deductions, you should keep a record of all expenses and keep all receipts. Accounting software can make it easier to scan and store all receipts in one place.
How do tax deductions affect my overall taxes owed as a personal trainer?
Business expense deductions can reduce your taxable income and the taxes you owe. However, you should speak with a certified public accountant or tax professional to ensure you’re taking accurate deductions for your business.