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Work Out Your Deductions: Tax Write-Offs for Personal Trainers

Top 10 Tax Deductions for Personal Trainers
Accounting and TaxesFebruary 26, 2023

If you’re a personal trainer, there’s a good chance that you’re self-employed. And if you’re self-employed, that means dealing with self-employed taxes. The good news is you can deduct your business expenses when you file your annual tax return, which saves you money. But no need to break a sweat over your taxes; we’ll walk you through some of the top deductions.

First off, a quick refresher on deductions. There are two options: The standard deduction where you reduce your taxable income by a fixed amount; and itemized deductions, where you list out your specific expenses to reduce your taxable income.

In 2023, the standard deduction is $13,850 for single filers and $27,700 for married couples filing jointly. If your business expenses exceed the standard deduction amount, it usually makes financial sense to choose itemized deductions. Remember that the more deductions you have, the less tax you typically pay. This goes not only for federal and state income taxes, but Social Security and Medicare taxes as well.

No matter which path you choose, you’ll want to keep your records in good shape. It’s a good idea to keep records of your deductible expenses so that if you’re selected for an audit, you’ll have proof of the business purchases.

Now, let’s focus on gains! Here are ten usual 10 deductions for personal trainers: 

1. Business Mileage

Whenever you drive your car for your personal training business, you’re usually eligible for a tax deduction. For example, you can typically claim a deduction if you drive to a client’s home or to the park to conduct a personal training session. 

If you have a deductible home office (see below), you can also generally deduct the cost of driving from home to the gym where you regularly conduct training classes. If you don’t have a home office, such driving is probably not going to save you money, because driving from home to a regular workplace is considered nondeductible commuting by the IRS.

There are two ways to deduct your driving expenses. The first way is to use the standard mileage rate. This way, you deduct a set amount for each business mile you drive. For 2023, this amount is 65.5 cents. 65.5 cents sounds small, but it can really add up. 5,000 business miles at 65.5 cents/mile  = a $3,275 tax deduction.

The second way is to deduct your actual car expenses. This requires you to keep track of everything you spend on gas, repairs, and other car expenses. You then usually deduct the business portion of the total amount—for example, if you drive 20% of the time for your personal training business, you deduct 20% of your total car expenses, plus an amount for depreciation. You can typically get a bigger deduction with this method if you spend a lot on car expenses and don’t drive many business miles. 

Whichever method you use, you’ll need to keep your records fit. Be sure to keep track of your auto expenses, business mileage, and total mileage each year.

2. Home Office

If you convert a space in your home into a training room where you see clients, you’ll likely qualify for the home office deduction. But no double-duty: To qualify as a write-off, the space needs to be used exclusively for your training business.

However, even if you do your personal training in gyms, parks, or client’s homes, you can still potentially qualify for the home office deduction. A space in your home that you use exclusively for running your personal training business can typically be deducted. Running your business includes tasks like keeping books and records, doing marketing, and ordering supplies.

To take the home office deduction, you need to figure out how much of your home or apartment you use as an office or training space. You then deduct this percentage of your mortgage or rent, utilities, and other home expenses. 

If you own your home, you can also usually get a depreciation deduction for your home office (and your home). This is a yearly deduction spread out over a number of years intended to recover the reduced value of an asset over time, due to its age, wear and tear, or decay. Also, anything you buy exclusively for your home office—a rug, for example—is typically fully deductible.

3. Professional Dues, Certifications, and Subscriptions

Staying connected and up to date in your field is a key part of your personal training work. The good news is that dues you pay to professional organizations such as the American Council on Exercise are generally fully deductible. So are professional certifications, and subscription costs for professional publications such as training magazines, or services like Spotify that you use exclusively for business.

4. Equipment

Whether it’s exercise mats, dumbbells, treadmills, or jump ropes, typically all the exercise equipment you use exclusively for your training business is deductible. You are permitted to deduct the cost of such equipment the year you buy it, rather than spreading the deduction out over several years. Deducting the cost when you purchase makes you likely to be able to take a large deduction in a single year. 

5. Supplies 

Running your business requires the right supplies—think of these as the things you use up in less than one year. Hand sanitizer, masks, tissues, office supplies, and anything you use for the running of your business generally count as fully deductible. 

6. Marketing Expenses 

Clients may promote you through word of mouth, but you also have to market yourself. In general, every penny you spend to market your training business is tax deductible. This includes the costs of your website, from buying your domain name to creating and hosting it. It also includes costs like merchandise with your business name or logo on it, promotional photography for your business, advertisements, or signage.

7. Software 

From appointment-booking platforms to workout program management, there are a number of software options available for trainers. Remember that these are generally considered a write-off if they’re used exclusively for your business.  

8. Insurance 

Personal trainer professional liability insurance is typically a fully-deductible business expense. Other insurance you buy for your business is also often deductible, such as business property insurance.

Staying healthy is especially important for personal trainers, so remember that self-employed people are also allowed to deduct 100% of their health insurance premiums from their income taxes. But note that this deduction is limited to the annual profit you earn from your training business.

If you have a home office or training studio (see above), you may deduct a portion of your homeowner's or renter’s insurance.

9. Continuing Education 

Every trainer knows you have to put in work to stay at your best. This goes for knowledge as well as fitness. Fortunately, continuing education required to maintain your personal trainer skills or certification is usually fully deductible. This includes online and offline courses, conferences, books, and other personal training educational materials. 

10. Professional Services 

When you’re self-employed, you may be able to deduct the cost of hiring professionals to help your business. This includes the cost of bookkeepers or accountants, as well as attorneys. The cost of preparing the business portion of your tax return is also deductible. 

As always, be sure to consult with a tax professional for information specific to your business. But generally, a little tax knowledge and expense tracking can go a long way. Keeping records of what you spend means you can often keep more of your hard-earned money.

File with ease with Found

Self-employed taxes can be complicated, but a little tax knowledge and expense tracking can go a long way. Keeping records of what you spend means you can often keep more of your hard-earned money. 

If you really want to get your taxes under control, give Found a try and take the guesswork out of taxes. Found’s tax tools help you run your business with newfound clarity and ease. Found’s tax tools like automatic expense tracking, receipt capture, and auto-saving for taxes help you run your business with newfound clarity and ease—all from one app. Sign up for free today.

Planning to use tax prep software this tax season? Save up to an additional 20% off when you file with TurboTax. Restrictions may apply, see TurboTax terms.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on, for tax advice. Found partners with TurboTax, and is not a filing service. Restrictions may apply, see TurboTax terms.

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