U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) today introduced 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.
“Americans are living healthier, more active lifestyles and prioritizing wellness and prevention for themselves and their families,” said Thune. “The PHIT Act encourages families to continue living a healthy lifestyle by making it easier for them to purchase certain fitness-related items using money they’ve already saved in their flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. My hope is that the PHIT Act incentives others to join this movement as well.”
“Here’s the reality: obesity and diabetes are costing taxpayers billions, and we should be using our tax code to incentivize people to stay in shape and out of the health care system,” said Murphy. “Gym memberships and sports fees often cost too much, and the PHIT Act is a great first step toward encouraging people to get active and stay healthy.”
“This legislation empowers Americans to make healthy choices and advances health without creating a new government program,” said Isakson.
“Regular physical activity is a form of preventive health care and one of the most important things you can do for your health,” said Donnelly. “That is why I am pleased to help introduce the PHIT Act, bipartisan legislation that would create incentives for families and individuals to become more physically active by allowing them to use money they have set aside in a pre-tax medical account for particular fitness expenses. Healthy lifestyles prevent and reduce disease and illness, and ultimately reduce health care costs. That’s good for our families and it’s good for our country.”
Qualified expenses under the PHIT Act would not include expenses at private clubs or facilities that include golf, hunting, sailing, or riding. For sports equipment, reimbursement for a single item cannot exceed $250 and pre-tax dollars cannot be used for apparel or footwear.
During the 113th Congress, the PHIT Act was introduced in the House of Representatives with more than 50 bipartisan cosponsors and was introduced as part of a larger legislative package in the Senate. Neither bill cleared its respective chamber.