Conflicting IRS Rules For Deducting Your Business Gym

Lana Dolyna, EA

Lana Dolyna, EA

Tax Consultant

I know that you have been thinking about employee fitness and the possibility of a gym or other athletic facility.

To be tax deductible, your gym or other athletic facility must be primarily for the benefit of your employees—other than employees who are officers, shareholders or other owners who own a 10 percent or greater interest in the business, or other highly compensated employees.

For the 10 percent ownership test, the law treats an employee as owning any interest owned by a member of his or her family. Family includes brothers and sisters, spouses, ancestors (such as parents and grandparents), and lineal descendants (such as children and grandchildren).

The highly compensated group consists of employees who earned more than $120,000 for the preceding year.

The gym or other athletic facility must benefit the rank-and-file employees group more than the owner and highly compensated group. Think of this primary-benefit test as a 51-49 test.

This means that the rank-and-file employee group must use the facility on more days than the owner and highly compensated group does.

To see if you pass the 51-49 test, look only at days of use of the facility.

Example. Rank-and-file employees use the gym 235 days during the year and you, the business owner, use it 137 days. The gym passes the 51-49 test; accordingly, it’s deductible as an employee recreational facility.

If you would like to discuss the tax benefits of providing a gym or other athletic facility for your business, please schedule your free strategy session by clicking the green “Schedule Now” button.

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