What can a personal trainer claim on taxes? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What can a personal trainer claim on taxes?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Jun 30, 2021

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Get the Basics...
  • As an independent personal trainer, you are responsible for filing your taxes.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your business and personal expenses separate.
  • Keep a hard copy of all receipts in a safe place.

Being your own boss is liberating. You set your own hours, choose which clients you want to train, and have the freedom to work anywhere in the world.

But, as a freelance personal trainer, you also have to file your own taxes. So, what can you claim on your taxes?

As an independent personal trainer, filing your taxes doesn’t have to be difficult.

We put together a few tips to make filing your taxes as easy as your first set of squats. For the rest of your fitness business management needs, request a demo for our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software today.

Planning Ahead

When it comes to filing your taxes, being organized is what matters most. Accurate record-keeping is the most basic form of staying organized. Having a thorough understanding of where your money is going helps you plan for long-term goals more effectively.

The best place to start is with your income and expenses. Start by putting all of your receipts in a folder or by creating a spreadsheet on your computer. There are also a lot of online applications you can use to keep track of your expenses.

Separate Your Business and Personal Expenses

As a sole proprietor, it may not seem necessary to separate personal and business expenses. But if your company is an LLC, it’s mandatory. By doing so, it’ll be easier to track all of your deductible expenses. If you choose to organize your finances online, don’t forget to keep the hard copies in a file. When tax season rolls around, you’ll want to double-check everything before you submit your tax return.

Personal Trainer Write-Offs

Once you have a handle on the basics of organization, the fun can begin! Yes, saving money makes everyone smile. As a personal trainer, you can keep more of what you are earning by claiming deductions, otherwise known as tax write-offs. So, what are standard deductions a personal trainer can claim?

Home Office

You don’t need to designate an entire room to cash in on this tax deduction. It can be as simple as a desk in the corner of your bedroom. Then you take the square footage of that space and divide it by the total square footage of your home.

You can also write off any supplies you use, including:

  • Your computer
  • Cell phone
  • Internet
  • Stationery items
  • Your electric bill
  • Fax machine

Just make sure you keep accurate records of how much you spent, with the receipts safely filed away, in case you’re audited.

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The easiest way to deduct mileage is to take the standard deduction, which is an amount predetermined by the IRS. Alternatively, you can deduct your car expenses for the year, which include gas and maintenance. If you choose to go this route, you’ll need to keep track of the mileage and all other expenses. Whichever you choose, keeping the hard copy of receipts in your file will save you time and possibly money if you’re ever audited.


You can also write off continuing education courses (in person or online), books, and fitness conventions. Business-related educational tools qualify as a deduction, so even if you pay for a mastermind group, this probably qualifies as a tax deduction.


Business lunches also qualify as a tax write-off. You can claim purchased meals while attending fitness conventions and/or continuing education classes. Typically, you can claim up to a 50 percent deduction.

Other Purchases

Although not exhaustive, the following should give you an idea of what else you can write off when tax time rolls around:

  • Exercise equipment used for business purposes
  • Work attire
  • Health insurance
  • Music used to teach both private and group sessions
  • Retirement Plans

As long as these purchases are business-related, the sky is the limit. If in doubt, check with your accountant or tax professional. As your own boss, you are responsible for filing your taxes every year.

And although it can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be painful. Careful planning goes a long way when it comes to your financial health.

Getting organized before tax season hits will make filing your taxes a lot less painful.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Should I hire an accountant?

While accounting software does make life easier, if you own a business or manage employees, an accountant can help you make sure that you are paying your taxes correctly and can help you save money with deductions.

How do taxes differ for someone who is self-employed?

When someone is an employee, taxes are deducted from their paychecks; additionally, the employee’s employer pays a certain percentage of taxes. When someone is self-employed, taxes are not deducted from their income and it is up to the individual to pay their taxes in a timely manner.

What happens when you get audited?

Most of the time, an audit simply involves having to answer additional questions about your income or expenses from the IRS by mail. Sometimes, however, you will be asked to appear in-person to speak with an auditor to provide a more detailed explanation about your income or expenses. If you meet with an auditor in-person, you have the legal right to bring an accountant and/or attorney with you.

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