As something of a fitness industry Accountant specialist, a very common question I get asked is “Can I claim my fitness clothing as a taxable expense because I’m a Personal Trainer (PT) or Fitness Instructor?” and the short answer is YES. Yes you can! However there is a very specific method in which you can claim for fitness clothing as a taxable expense and I’ll now explain this in greater detail.
The Wholly and Exclusively Rule
Some of you may have heard of this rule, others may not, but it’s a VERY important rule to remember whenever you’re looking to claim an allowable expense for your business. The simple fact is this – if the HMRC ever investigate you/your business and question you about something you’ve claimed as a taxable expense, then as long as you can prove that this specific expense was claimed ‘wholly and exclusively’ for the purpose of your business then you are completely within your right to claim that expense.
So in regards to fitness clothing, here’s where a slight grey area comes into play. If you wear your fitness clothing ANYWHERE else besides your place of work then you cannot claim this as a taxable expense. Not one penny. This would include wearing your fitness gear:
- Going to and from work
- Exercising in your own time
- For general leisure in your own time
If you wear your fitness clothing whilst performing ANY of the points mentioned above then you cannot claim your fitness clothing as a taxable expense. This is what the HMRC call a ‘Duality of Purpose’ meaning you gain personal benefit from that expense and therefore cannot claim it. So how do you get around this? Well there are two methods:
Fitness Clothing for Business Use Only – Option 1
The first method of claiming fitness clothing is to simply have one set of fitness clothes/trainers which you use ONLY for your business. You MUST NOT wear these to and from your place of work, otherwise this falls into the ‘Duality of Purpose’ issue again. So in order to claim your fitness clothing/trainers via this method you must wear your own clothes to your place of work, change into the ‘business clothes’ at your place of work, perform your business duties, then change back into your own clothes to leave. (I know, I know! I don’t make up the rules, I just tell you about them!)
This way you can prove that you are using these fitness clothes ‘wholly and exclusively’ for the purpose of your business without any worry of repercussions.
Business Branded Fitness Clothing – Option 2
The second method is slightly more expensive, however if you are able to get your logo/branding printed onto all of your fitness clothing then you immediately can claim this as a taxable expense.
There’s two reasons for this, firstly this puts the item of clothing under the ‘uniform’ expense category which makes this a taxable expense, secondly even if you were wearing these clothes elsewhere besides work then the branding causes that piece of clothing to fall within the ‘advertisement’ category of taxable expenses, so you are comfortably covered either way!
And that ladies and gents (…of the fitness world!) is how you can claim your fitness clothing as a taxable expense when you are a personal trainer or fitness instructor.