If you’re a personal trainer, you probably enjoy ab crunches wayyy more than you do crunching numbers.
And I totally get it. When I start thinking about filing my taxes, all I want to do is go for a long run or hit the gym, too.
That’s why Schedulicity called in a few experts: to help eliminate the dreaded tax stress and make filing your personal trainer taxes a breeze this year.
In this guide, our tax pros will cover all things taxes for personal trainers, including the most common tax deductions and expenses — some you may have never considered!
In this blog:
- Personal Trainer Taxes 101
- 7 Most Common Personal Trainer Tax Deductions
If you’re looking to learn more about the best software for filing taxes or understand how taxes and PPP loans work, be sure to check out our Ultimate List of Tax Prep Resources!
Personal Trainer Taxes, Deductions, and Expenses
Personal Trainer Taxes 101
Before we get into specific deductions, here’s some tax advice our experts had for personal trainers before they file…
Know Your Business Structure
To set your personal trainer business up for success during tax season, you have to first consider your business structure.
Leo Yeo, cofounder of Cubo — an online platform designed to help individuals manage their business — told us that the first step to filing taxes as a small business owner is “establishing a legal entity for your company.”
Forming a business structure, Leo says, such as an LLC or S-Corporation, can have “favorable tax implications.”
By setting up your business this way, it’s much easier to keep personal and business finances separate (which we’ll get into in the next section!).
It also safeguards your assets and potentially reduces your overall tax burden.
Keep Your Accounts Separate
Our next expert made it crystal clear that keeping separate accounts for personal and business expenses will save trainers a ton of headaches.
Gates Little, CEO of AltLine, told us: “…trainers should know that their lives will be so much easier if they have separate bank accounts and credit cards for their business.”
Keeping separate accounts makes it “easier to spot purchases that are eligible for deductions,” Gates said, “and easier to account for every transaction if you are audited.”
Keep Solid Financial Records
When it comes to filing your taxes, this one might sound like a no-brainer. But two of our experts, Mark Lindquist and Andril Pominov, had plenty to say on this topic.
Mark Lindquist, Head of Marketing for Community Phone, told us that record keeping is essential.
For Mark, this means you have to “track your income, keep accurate records of your customers and the services you provide, and keep receipts and invoices for all of your company’s spending.”
Andril Pominov is CEO of Digital Skills Blog, and he gave us great advice on record keeping, too.
“Keeping meticulous records allows you to identify potential tax deductions,” Andril said, “such as the depreciation of business equipment, expenses for professional development, or deductions for a home office.”
Don’t Forget About State and Local Taxes
Director of Storm Internet — a private cloud hosting company for software developers and agencies — Salim Benadel wanted to remind personal trainers to keep state and local taxes in mind as well.
“Personal trainers and other fitness professionals may have state and local tax duties,” Salim said, “in addition to their federal tax obligations.”
This could be “income taxes, sales taxes, and local taxes imposed on businesses within the state.”
At the end of the day, “Be sure that you are aware of your obligations for state and local taxes and that you comply with all tax regulations.”
You Can Always Ask for Help
Tom Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at Fitness Volt, wanted personal trainers to remember that they can always ask for help.
“If you aren’t sure what your tax responsibilities are,” Tom said, “or if you want to be sure you’re taking advantage of all the deductions that are available to you, consider consulting with a tax expert that specializes in assisting people in the fitness industry.”
7 Most Common Personal Trainer Tax Deductions
Our experts had a lot of great suggestions for personal trainer tax deductions, so we rounded them all up for you in one place!
Paul Koullick is the Founder and CEO of Keeper — a tax software designed with independent contractors and freelancers in mind — and he suggested personal trainers write off gym memberships on their taxes.
“In general, it’s really hard to deduct the cost of a gym membership,” Paul said. “But personal trainers and other fitness pros are almost uniquely positioned to treat it as a business expense.”
Pro tip: “For something to be considered a business expense,” Paul told us, “it has to be ordinary and necessary, which means it’s common for other people in the same line of work and helpful for doing that work — the IRS actually says that an expense doesn’t have to be indispensable to count as necessary.”
Home expenses can be a big one for a lot of fitness pros, especially if you meet clients at your home for workouts.
Again, we’ll turn to Paul Koullick of Keeper for the scoop.
“If you meet with clients in a home gym and only use that space for work,” Paul said, “you can claim the home office deduction. That lets you write off a portion of all your home expenses: rent, utilities, even driveway repairs — since you want to prevent your clients’ cars from getting damaged on the drive in.”
To find this dollar amount, “you’ll take the business-use percentage of these costs… by dividing the square footage of your home gym by the total square footage of your place.”
Business expenses can be a variety of items, but for personal trainers specifically, we’ll turn to Michael Hamlin, a personal trainer himself and Founder of Everflex Fitness.
“You can deduct any expenses that are directly related to your business,” Michael said, “such as equipment, advertising and marketing costs, and office supplies.”
Michael also mentioned travel expenses: “If you travel for business purposes, you can deduct expenses such as airfare, hotel stays, and rental cars.”
As a personal trainer, too, Michael Hamlin pointed out that education can be considered a deductible expense.
“If you take courses or attend seminars to improve your skills or knowledge in your field, you may be able to deduct the cost of tuition, books, and other related expenses.”
Equipment and Supplies Expenses
Jon Morgan, Founder of Venture Smarter, pointed out a big deduction for personal trainers: equipment and supplies.
This could include any gear your clients use, such as weights and machines. It could also be water stations, uniforms, and even your Spotify subscription, as long as you use it for your sessions.
Health Insurance Premiums
Michael Hamilin also pointed out that personal trainers can deduct health insurance premiums on their taxes.
As long as you’re considered “self-employed,” Michael said, “you can deduct the cost of health insurance premiums for yourself, your spouse, and any dependents.”
Retirement Plan Deductions
This was a great suggestion from a certified personal trainer, Hannah Shine, who works as a Fitness Coach with Hourglass Waist.
She told us personal trainers who “set up a retirement plan, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan” are able to deduct the contributions from their taxes.