U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) today reintroduced legislation that would allow Americans to make certain qualified sports and fitness purchases, like gym memberships, fitness equipment, and youth sports league fees, with money they have saved in pre-tax health care accounts. The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow for a medical care tax deduction on qualified purchases for up to $1,000 per taxpayer or $2,000 for married couples filing jointly or heads of household.
“Physical activity is one of the best things individuals can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it’s often an important first step for those looking to get on track with their fitness goals,” said Thune. “The PHIT Act reduces the financial burden that can be associated with certain fitness-related purchases, which would make it easier for Americans and their families to prioritize health and wellness – and hopefully save money on future doctor visits, too.”
“For every dollar we invest in encouraging Americans to get active, the more we save on future medical expenses,” said Murphy. “That’s a fact — and it’s why we should be doing everything we can to help people get exercise and stay healthy. Our PHIT Act will make it easier for people in Connecticut and across the country to enjoy the outdoors, join gyms or purchase workout equipment, and it will prevent disease and illness down the road. It’s a great first step toward getting Americans in shape and lowering health care costs.”
Qualified expenses do not include: private clubs owned and operated by members or clubs with golf, hunting, sailing, or riding facilities. In the case of sports equipment (other than exercise equipment), reimbursement for a single item cannot exceed $250, and these pre-tax dollars cannot be used for general fitness apparel or footwear.