Train Your Own Gym Clients? Make Sure You’re Snagging These Tax Breaks 

Self-Employed Young woman with instructor preparing for deadlift

If you are a personal trainer, you know what it takes to keep your body fit. But what about your self-employed business? Often personal trainers don’t even think of themselves as being in business, but they are. As a self-employed business owner, you have as much an obligation to keep your finances as in shape as you keep your body. That includes trimming your taxes, so here are some tax benefits that you might be overlooking or under-reporting.

  1. Equipment and workout gear. Every trainer has favorite tools of the trade that they love because they make a difference in the workout their clients get. If you are responsible for buying that equipment and gear yourself, keep track of the receipts and tag the payments in your bank statements and credit card statements so you claim the tax deduction. Overlook a $100 deduction, and you are probably overpaying self-employment and income taxes by $35 or more.
  2. Videos and training materials. If you download songs in order to provide music for your clients to listen to during workouts, the cost of those downloads is tax deductible. If you show your clients training videos or subscribe to websites where you get training ideas, those costs are tax deductible too.
  3. Training for you. If you pay to participate in educational classes and workshops designed to improve your training skills, the cost of the classes and the cost to get there and home again is tax deductible. Your transportation and lodging are legitimate business expenses if they are directly related to you getting training for your business.
  4. Transportation costs. If you travel to see clients, don’t forget to deduct the mileage it takes you to drive there. For 2018, the business mileage deduction is at 54.5 cents per mile and for 2019, you can deduct 58 cents per mile for every business mile driven. If you use other means of transportation, the cost of your transportation fares and ride-shares are tax deductible as well.
  5. Subscriptions and licenses. If you subscribe to professional magazines or pay dues to professional organizations, those costs are tax deductible. Ongoing certification fees are deductible as well. And don’t forget the cost of computer programs and apps that you use for business — that’s also tax deductible!
  6. Telephone and work clothes. Here’s some good news/bad news… Your telephone expenses are tax deductible for business calls that you make. However, if you use your phone for both business and personal purposes, you’ll have to split the cost of the monthly phone service between business and personal use. So if 30 percent of your time on the phone is spent on business, you could legitimately deduct 30 percent of your phone expenses. Work clothes are generally not tax deductible if the clothes can be worn in public and can be used for personal use at all. But if they are emblazoned with your business logo they can be considered uniforms, which are not considered to be suitable for personal wear and can be tax deductible. When you use QuickBooks Self-Employed it will help you easily track your income, expenses, and mileage year-round, as well as separate your business and personal expenses. Your information can then easily export to your TurboTax Self-Employed tax return.

Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. TurboTax Self-Employed will ask simple questions about you and your business and give you the tax deductions specific to your industry that you are eligible for. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live Self-Employed CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average 15 years of experience to get your tax questions answered. A TurboTax Live Self-Employed CPA or Enrolled Agent can also review, sign, and file your tax return.

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