If you’re a PT and have ever completed a tax return you’ll have likely seen the taxable expense category ‘Memberships’ and be thinking “I wonder if I can claim my gym membership because I’m a Personal Trainer?” well the answer is yes! Happy days! However that’s the short answer, there are in-fact 2 scenarios in which you can claim your gym membership as a taxable expense for your business, see which applies to you.
Now before we start it’s worth mentioning here that I’m talking about full-gym memberships in this article, not ‘gym passes’ which you need to occasionally purchase in order to access your PT client’s own gym to train them – those types of gym passes are 100% tax deductible since you couldn’t operate your business without going into their gym! So if that’s why you were reading this article then there’s the quick answer. However if that doesn’t answer your question then read on my friend!
You Train Your Clients at the same Gym You Personally Train – Scenario 1
The first scenario is the most common in the personal training world, where you’ll be training your clients at the same gym that you are personally a member and train there yourself. So the issue here is the fact that this membership is serving two purposes:
- To train your PT clients in order to run your business
- To train yourself in your spare time
So in order to claim this gym membership you must work out what percentage you use the gym for business (training clients) and what percentage you use the gym for personal use (training yourself) because you can ONLY claim the business percentage as a taxable expense.
In order to calculate the business percentage you simply need to work out how many hours you use the gym in total (including personal use) and how many hours you use the gym for business. The equation is then simply: Gym Business Hours ÷ Gym Total Hours x 100 = Claimable Percentage
I know that looks complicated written in words so let’s show this in practice:
- Let’s say you use the gym a total of 25 hours per week (including training clients and yourself in your own time)
- You use 20 of those hours for business use (to train your PT clients)
The equation here would be:
20 ÷ 25 x 100 = 80%
So in this instance you could claim 80% of your gym membership as a tax deductible expense. Simple!
You Train Clients in a Seperate Gym to Yourself – Scenario 2
So as you’ll have likely noticed, the first scenario doesn’t allow you to claim 100% of your gym membership because you used a percentage for personal use. So there is an alternative option, however this can sometimes work out more expensive than scenario 1 so be sure to check which option works best for you!
In this scenario you will be a member of 2 seperate gyms.
Gym 1 – Is where you ONLY train your PT clients
Gym 2 – Is where you ONLY train yourself
So now you can prove that Gym 1 is ‘wholly and exclusively’ for the purpose of your business because you train yourself elsewhere, meaning the membership cost for Gym 1 is 100% tax deductible since you gain no personal benefit from being a member there, it’s 100% for the purpose of training clients to run your business.
However as I mentioned earlier, although this option seems great because you can claim 100% of that gym membership cost, don’t forget that you’ll also have to be a member of a different gym (for personal use only) as well to make this option work, so as long as your personal gym membership is very cheap in comparison to your client gym membership then this could be a good option.
And that’s how you claim your gym membership as a taxable expense when you’re a Personal Trainer! As a final message I’ll leave you with a small piece of advice. Some people may read this article and say “Well I’ll just lie say I don’t train myself! It’s much easier and then I can claim 100% of the gym membership” but let me just warn you of something…the HMRC aren’t stupid. If you are running a Personal Training Business then they will sensibly conclude that you too will need to train in order to operate your business properly and provide an efficient service. So always be truthful and just be smart about which scenario you decide to operate your business in regards to the gym memberships.