Of course you want to keep as much money as you can at tax time — and that means maximizing your deductions. As a personal trainer, you should be aware of several common deductions, some of which are unique to your career. When tax time comes around, pump up your return by taking advantage of these common personal trainer deductions.
Fitness equipment can be 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 home gym machine, you can deduct any equipment costs for your business on your taxes.
Just remember: you can’t deduct personal expenses. That means any deductions you take has to be for equipment your clients use, not just you. It’s fine to deduct your home gym, but only if you have clients coming to your house to use it.
For equipment that you use both personally and for your business, you get to 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 the other half is business usage, you can deduct 50 percent of the cost.
Education and Certifications
Yes, you can deduct any money you pay to educate or certify yourself as a personal trainer. This is true even at the start of your career, when you can deduct the money you spend on training courses and your certification.
Note that education isn’t limited 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 fit the bill.
Travel and Entertainment
If you travel anywhere for personal training, you’re allowed to deduct your travel costs. Your travel expenses include driving to meet with clients. The simplest way to calculate your deduction here is using the automobile allowance rate of 55 cents per kilometre for your first 5,000 kilometres and 49 cents for each subsequent kilometre, as of 2018. You get an extra 4 cents per kilometre in select areas. Any travel expense related to your business can qualify as a deduction. If you went out of town to attend a conference, you could deduct your flight and hotel.
When you want to deduct entertainment costs, it’s best to be careful. For entertainment costs to be deductible, you must incur them while on a business trip, or the entertainment activity itself must be business-related. Treating a client to a meal could qualify here. You’re also only allowed to deduct 50 percent of the expense for entertainment.
The money you spend on marketing your business is fair game as a tax deduction. Here are some of the most common marketing expenses personal trainers incur:
- 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 deductions are available to you to reap the benefits at tax time.