Can the Cost of your Gym Membership be Deductible?

The answer is, “That depends.” If you meet the following criteria then you can write off your Gym Membership as a Qualified Medical Expense on either your Schedule A or as a distribution from your Health Savings Account (HSA).

The criteria are:

  1. A doctor must diagnose you with a specific medical condition, or a specific physical or mental defect or illness, and you must have written documentation of this diagnosis.
  2. You must use the health club facilities to treat the specific condition, defect, or illness as recommended by your doctor.
  3. You must not have belonged to the health club or gym before the diagnosis, and would not have joined if you were not diagnosed with the specific condition, defect, or illness.

We recently had a case where we had to prove to the IRS that our client’s distributions from their HSA were qualified medical expenses. There were two distributions used for the gym and they were sizable. When we received the letter from the doctor it read, “I recommend that my patient use a gym for her health.” That was not good enough.

Our client had a serious injury and was receiving skilled services from a personal trainer twice per week as a necessity to be able to maintain her mobility. We only had to explain to the doctor that her letter needed to be more specific. The IRS did not question the claims for the Gym expenses.

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