As a self-employed personal trainer running your own business can be overwhelming – especially when you have taxes to consider. The good news is that you can deduct certain expenses pertaining to your business to lower your tax bill. Common deductions for personal trainers usually include: music CDs & files, insurance, business related meals, state/local taxes, interest on any business debt, rent expense, travel expenses for business purposes, office supplies, communication devices (i.e. cell, fax, phone system), advertising and promotional expenses, and health insurance.

There are also deductions for charitable contribution. Donating old gym equipment to a qualified organization would be one example of a charitable contribution. Expenses for business use of the home are also a deduction. You must have an area in your home that you use exclusively for your business. You can deduct the percentage of expenses relating to your business such as rent, utilities, and telephone. The way to calculate the business portion of these expenses is to divide the amount of square feet used for business purposes by the total square footage of your home.

Lastly there are other deductions you can take as a personal trainer such as purchasing health publications to educate your customers, training and seminars to improve your skills as a trainer, and depreciation of equipment used in your business. Other common deductions include commissions paid, attorney & accountant fees, license fees, bank service charges, merchant account/credit card fees, and lease payments for vehicles, machines and equipment.

The most important question to ask yourself if you are uncertain of a business deduction is “how does this expense help me to carry on my business?” The expense must be common for your industry and necessary to the daily activities of your trade. Don’t forget to keep good records and receipts of your business related expenses. Just because you incurred an expense does not automatically makes it deductible. Without good records your deductions can de disallowed if you are audited.

Anil Melwani, CPA

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