Taxes and Tips for Personal Trainers

As a personal trainer, you help people make the most of their workouts, and when it’s time to file your taxes, you want to make the most of deductions, especially those specific to your career field. Taking all your available deductions keeps more money in your pocket, so you can invest more in your small business.

When tax time comes around, pump up your return by taking advantage of these common personal trainer deductions offered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Writing Off Equipment Costs

Fitness equipment often proves expensive, but you need it to take your clients through exciting workouts that challenge them.

The good news is that whether you buy several smaller pieces of equipment or a huge professional gym machine, you can deduct any equipment costs for your business on your taxes. Keep in mind that you can’t deduct personal expenses as part of your personal trainer expenses.

For example, you can only write off your home gym if your clients also use the space and equipment as part of their workout sessions. If you only use the area, then you can’t claim the space as a deduction, as it’s a personal expense.

For equipment that you use both personally and professionally, you can deduct a portion of the cost equal to the portion of time you use it for business purposes. If you use your home gym half the time and train clients there half the time, you can deduct 50% of the cost.

Deducting Education and Certifications

Yes, you can deduct costs you incur for training courses and your personal trainer certification, even at the start of your career. Note that the CRA doesn’t limit education expenses to courses alone. If you attend a fitness conference to learn about the industry, that qualifies as an education expense. Any books you purchase on the subject also fill the bill.

Credits for Travel and Entertainment

If you travel anywhere for personal training, you can deduct your travel costs. Your travel expenses, of course, include driving to meet with clients. The simplest way to calculate your deduction for car expenses is by using the automobile allowance rate of 61 cents per kilometre for your first 5,000 kilometres and 55 cents for each subsequent kilometre, as of 2022.

The CRA often updates these rates from year to year, so it’s a good idea to check for the current rate. You get an extra 4 cents per kilometre in select areas, so be sure to document each trip’s starting and stopping points. 

Any travel expense related to your business can qualify as a tax credit. If you went out of town to attend a conference, you could deduct your flight and hotel costs.

But when you want to deduct entertainment costs, it’s best to err on the side of caution. For a cost to qualify as an entertainment deduction, you must incur the cost while on a business trip or the entertainment activity itself must be business-related. For example, if you take a client out to lunch, the meal qualifies as a business expense. For tax purposes, you can only deduct 50% of the cost since you consumed a meal as well.

Deducting Marketing Expenses

The money you spend on marketing your personal trainer business is fair game as a tax deduction. With that in mind, some of the most common marketing expenses personal trainers incur include:

  • Online advertising
  • Magazine and newspaper ads
  • Marketing materials, such as business cards, fliers, and pamphlets
  • Website fees, including your web hosting and domain registration

When you maximize your deductions, you get to keep more of the money you earn as a personal trainer. Keep excellent records to support your claims for deductions, and know which credits you can use to reap the benefits at tax time.

To simplify logging your costs, consider the QuickBooks Self-Employed app that helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage their businesses on the go. Download the app today.

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