Massage therapy is an ancient healing art that has been practiced for centuries in different parts of the world. In the United States, most states require that massage therapists have formal training and be nationally certified. Massage therapists work in spas and health care facilities. They can also be self-employed or work on a part-time basis. In general, most massage therapists receive self-employment income, and are eligible to make business deductions when filing their end-of-year tax returns.
Some massage therapists work at multiple sites. Travel expenses incurred while going to and from clients' homes or a professional place of business is deductible as a business expense. Massage therapists who have to drive to multiple locations for work can also include their mileage, fuel, toll and parking fees, as well as repairs and car insurance as a part of their business expenses. Other travel deductions include taxicabs and business-related air travel.
Equipment and Supplies
Special clothing essential to massage therapy sessions that are only worn during a treatment are eligible for deductions. Equipment purchases such as massage table or chairs, and supplies including creams and oils can be deducted as business expenses. Office equipment, business supplies, fax and telephones also qualify for tax deductions.
Promotional materials such business cards, websites and flyers can be included as business expenses on tax returns.
All business-related insurance expenses are eligible for tax deduction. In addition to obtaining personal health insurance, massage therapists are required to have professional liability insurance for protection against malpractice lawsuits.
Massage therapists cannot deduct the total cost of their training to become licensed professionals. However, they are entitled to deduct any supplemental training that they receive after completing their degree or diploma training in massage therapy. This includes professional development training, workshops and any other relevant educational expenses. Education-related travel expenses can also be deducted as a business expense.
Meals and Expenses
Expenses incurred for entertainment and meals such, as taking clients out to lunch or dinner are 50 percent tax deductible.
Miscellaneous fees that are eligible for tax exemption include legal, accounting or licensing fees. The cost to attend conferences as well as association membership dues also qualify for tax deduction. Massage therapists who rent a professional space or work out of their homes can include a portion of their rent as a business expense.
- American Massage Therapy Association: Tax Makeover
- Mayo Clinic "Massage: Get in Touch With Its Many Benefits." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020
- National Institutes of Health. "The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health "A Regional Analysis of U.S. Insurance Reimbursement Guidelines for Massage Therapy." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- Healthcare.gov. "What Marketplace Plans Cover." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
Selam Nuri has been writing academic articles and working across the curriculum since 2001. She has been published online at various websites and earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology in 2006 from the City University of New York.