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Tax Tips For Personal Trainers

The end of the financial year (EOFY) can be challenging, especially when you have to spend time finding receipts for your expenses and calculating your allowable deductions. As a personal trainer in Australia, you are entitled to a variety of potential deductions, so it pays to keep track of your expenditure and find out how you can lessen your tax burden.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can be quite strict about what it allows, so keep reading to find out how you can save on your next income tax bill.

What taxes do personal trainers pay?

Like all Australian workers, you must pay income tax as a personal trainer on your salary, wage, and allowances. If you work for an employer like a gym, all of this information will be shown on your income statement. If you are self-employed, it’s made up of payments from your invoices.

It can get a little complicated when you consider allowances. Compensation from your employer for special aspects of your work (such as a supervisor allowance) and compensation for industry peculiarities (like a broken shift allowance) are not eligible for deductions. However, allowances for expenses like uniforms and certifications are eligible for deductions.

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Personal trainer tax deductions

Personal trainers can save money on their tax bills by deducting certain allowable expenses. The general caveat is that you must spend the money yourself without being reimbursed by your employer, and the expense has to relate directly to your income-earning activities. In other words, you can only deduct expenses associated with providing personal training services.

Here are some of the categories where tax-deductible expenses are allowed.

Car expenses

The ATO doesn’t allow taxpayers to deduct the cost of travelling to and from work. However, you can deduct the cost of travelling between two jobs on the same day. 

Example: Jack works as a self-employed personal trainer, and he trains two clients on Thursday evenings who go to different gyms. He may be unable to deduct the expense of driving from his house to the first gym. However, the travel expenses incurred between the gyms are allowable deductions.

In certain circumstances, it is allowable to deduct the expense for the journey from your home to your workplace (like a gym). One such circumstance is when you carry bulky equipment that is essential for your job. To qualify, the equipment has to be bulky, essential for your job and have no secure place to store it at your workplace.

It can be challenging to stay on track with this, which is why it’s important to keep a logbook that demonstrates the percentage of work-related use for your car. Through QuickBooks, you can use the mileage tracking tool to help automatically track and categorise kilometres. 

Clothing and laundry expenses

If you work at a gym with a compulsory uniform, you can deduct it from your tax bill, but only if it has a company logo. The company must also have a uniform policy that is consistently enforced. If your uniform falls into this category, then you can deduct the cost of buying, hiring, mending, and cleaning it. 

This means that clothing items like sweatpants you buy at a branded clothing store would not qualify, since they would be seen as conventional clothing that can be worn by anyone regardless of profession.

Basically, you can’t deduct expenses for general clothing. Even if you buy fitness clothing for work, you cannot deduct it from your bill if it is not a required uniform. 

Self-education expenses

You can claim self-education expenses if you take a course that is directly related to your work as a personal trainer and it is aimed at maintaining or improving your skills, with the likelihood of leading to an increase in income for your current employment. 

If you are taking a course that’s vaguely related to your industry or designed to get you a new job, it may not be eligible for a tax deduction. For example, training to be a physiotherapist when you are a personal trainer is not an allowable expense. 

Tools and equipment

Exercise equipment counts as an allowable expense if you use it for work. If you also use it for personal reasons, then you can only deduct the portion of payment attributed to professional use. 

Example: If you purchase resistance bands for your clients to use, but you also use them when working out yourself, then you must apportion the cost between work and personal use. You can calculate this based on a percentage of how much you use them compared to how much your clients use them. So, if you use the bands for 3 workouts a week, and you have 3 clients that use them for one workout each per week, it’s a 50/50 split.

Furthermore, you can also deduct insurance for your equipment and the cost of repairs. Any item under $300 can be deducted in full but only if it is mainly used for work purposes and is not part of a set of items that together costs more than $300. For equipment over this threshold, you must claim a deduction over a number of years accounting for depreciation.

Other relevant items can also be deductible. This includes sunscreen and sunglasses, but only if you train outdoors for prolonged periods of time and need them to protect yourself from real and likely harm while working. Similarly to other items, only the work-related use of either can be claimed.

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Can personal trainers claim fitness expenses?

Personal trainers cannot claim expenses for their own fitness. This includes gym fees, weight-loss programs, supplements and vitamins, or healthy meals. These all count as private expenses, which means you can’t deduct them from your tax bill. 

Gym memberships are only claimable for individuals who require a level of fitness well above the general occupation standard and need to perform strenuous physical activities that are an essential part of your role, such as professional athletes. Unfortunately, personal trainers do not fall into this category.

How QuickBooks can help

It’s possible to streamline the entire tax-filing process with effective accounting software. QuickBooks can help you stay on top of your earnings and your expenses so that it’s quick and easy to file your taxes.

QuickBooks helps in simplifying the invoicing process, which means you can get paid faster, and you can keep track of unpaid invoices. Plus, these invoices are all there at the end of the accounting period to help make filing your taxes easier. 

In terms of expenses, capturing your receipts and expenses on the go is the best way to keep track of your allowable expenses. When everything is digitised, you don’t need to go hunting down old receipts or emails. 

Try QuickBooks with a 30-day free trial to see how it can make your accounting easier.

While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information presented as at 12 April 2024, Intuit is not providing you with professional advice and we recommend you obtain your own professional advice. Intuit is not liable for your use of the information presented.


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