Personal Trainer Tax Deductions

by Nola Moore
The cost of specialized equipment, like a balance ball, may qualify as a business expense tax deduction for personal trainers.

As a personal trainer, you likely have many eligible tax deductions, whether you work for someone else, such as a fitness club, or for yourself. By keeping careful records of your unreimbursed business expenses, you may be able to lower your taxable income and your overall tax bill.


As a fitness professional, you may deduct the cost of any training equipment you use with your clients, provided you use it exclusively for your business. This means that you cannot deduct the cost of your home workout equipment or the cost of your fitness clothing, unless you have a specific work uniform required by your employer.

Education and Certifications

You can deduct the cost of your certifications and continuing education, as well as any books or supplies required to obtain them. In addition, if you travel to conferences or seminars, you can deduct your travel and lodging expenses and half the cost of your business-related meals while at the event. You may also write off the costs of any professional subscriptions and memberships to journals, websites and associations that you use to keep up-to-date on fitness information.

Insurance and Other Professional Expenses

If you purchase your own liability insurance, that cost is a business expense and is tax-deductible. In addition, if you are self-employed, you may be able to deduct all or part of the cost of your health insurance. Any legal fees you incur as part of your business are deductible, as is the cost to hire a professional tax preparer.

General Business Expenses

If you must drive between multiple health clubs during the day, you can deduct the cost of those trips from taxes. You may also deduct the cost of your business cards, website and other promotional materials. Office supplies and equipment, such as computers, printers, paper and so on, are also deductible. If you have supplies or equipment that you use for both business and personal tasks, you may deduct the percentage of the cost that is equivalent to your work use.

Additional Deductions and Restrictions

If you are self-employed, you may be eligible for additional retirement savings benefits -- and a resulting tax deduction -- through a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA or individual 401(k) plan. Even if you are employed by someone else, your traditional IRA contributions may be tax-deductible.

Notes and Restrictions

To claim these types of expenses, you must itemize your deductions and they -- along with any other deductions you take -- must be greater than the standard deduction to lower your tax obligation. In addition, if you are not self-employed, most work-related deductions are "miscellaneous" deductions and must exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income before you can begin to deduct them. Review IRS Publication 535 and consult a professional tax preparer to ensure you're getting all your eligible deductions.

About the Author

Nola Moore is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles, Calif. She has more than 20 years of experience working in and writing about finance and small business. She has a Bachelor of Science in retail merchandising. Her clients include The Motley Fool, Proctor and Gamble and NYSE Euronext.

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