Congressmen in the House of Representatives recently introduced the PHIT Act (Personal Health Investment Today) to encourage Americans to engage in physical activity without having to spend money on equipment, membership fees, and fitness classes. Instead, under the PHIT Act, you’d be able to write off certain fitness-related expenses during tax season.
The legislature is a little complicated, but in layman’s terms, if this bill becomes law, then many athletic-related expenses would fall under the definition of health care expenses—which are already tax-deductible for up to $1,000 (or $2,000 if you file jointly) of your pre-tax allotments.
So what does the PHIT Act consider a “fitness-related expense”? The act covers canoes, kayaks, boxing gloves, jump ropes, free weights, treadmills, kettlebells, golf clubs, footballs, baseballs, basketballs, hockey sticks, roller blades, cleats, and anything else you could possibly imagine that is required and necessary to play, partake, or participate in a sport or recreational activity.
But gym clothes and sneakers don’t make the cut, since you can wear them during plenty of instances when you’re not participating in a strenuous activity. And while golf outings and equipment are covered, country club memberships are not.
As for when the act may become a law, “hopefully we will be able to find the right vehicle to move forward on it sometime this year,” Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), the bill’s lead sponsor in the House, told The Washington Post.
But regardless of what happens, we’re excited to see the government getting behind physical fitness as a necessary component to total health. And it’s always fun to get a little creative when using the power of the tax code once filing season comes around.