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Can I claim gym membership fees?



Have your friends ever boasted that they claimed their gym membership fees on their tax return, which helped them get that amazing refund? Have you then gone to your accountant, hoping to do the same, only for them to tell you that you actually can’t claim your gym fees?


Yes, it is true that some people are able to claim their gym membership fees. However, the majority of people can’t claim gym and fitness expenses, even if they have to pass fitness tests to maintain their employment role. Not even all police officers are able to claim fitness and gym expenses on their tax return!


The ATO has ruled that gym fees are generally considered a private expense, and that you can only claim gym and fitness expenses in very limited circumstances. Most general police officers are unable to claim gym and fitness expenses as they are not required to be unusually fit to perform their duties, even though they do have to be physically fit.


As stated on the ATO website, to claim gym and fitness expenses, you must be required to maintain an extremely high level of fitness well above the general occupation standard, and perform ongoing strenuous physical activities as an essential and regular part of your role.


As a general rule, only certain classes of Defence Force Members and professional sportspeople are allowed to claim gym and fitness expenses, although there are a few exceptions where the individual meets the above stated criteria.


Examples of those who are unable to claim gym and fitness expenses include fitness instructors, personal trainers, even firefighters, as the level of fitness they are required to maintain would not be well above the general standard for those in a similar role.


If you wish to claim gym and fitness expenses, you must be able to prove that strenuous physical activity is an essential and regular part of your everyday income-earning activities.