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The PHIT Act: What Will It Do For You?

What is the PHIT Act?

You may not have heard much about what lawmakers in the U.S. Congress are calling the PHIT Act.

It’s about time you did.

Lawmakers recently reintroduced the PHIT Act—short for the Personal Health Investment Today Act—to the legislative floor. It originally went before Congress in 2018 but did not complete its journey into law before the session ended. Before that, however, the bill had actually passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a landslide 277-142. 

The PHIT Act “allows a medical care tax deduction for up to $1,000 ($2,000 for a joint return or a head of household) of qualified sports and fitness expenses per year. The bill defines qualified sports and fitness expenses as amounts paid exclusively for participating in a physical activity, including (1) fitness facility memberships, (2) physical exercise or activity programs, or (3) equipment for a physical exercise or activity program,” per

How Will the PHIT Act Benefit Me?

The PHIT Act would benefit you by making your health and fitness goals more affordable and accessible. Examples of qualified expenses that may be covered under the PHIT Act could include:

  1. Gym memberships
  2. Fitness classes, such as yoga or spin classes
  3. Personal training sessions
  4. Sports equipment, such as bicycles or running shoes
  5. Youth sports league fees
  6. Exercise equipment, such as treadmills or weightlifting machines
  7. Fitness-related apps or online subscriptions

An important thing to remember is that deductions you claim must be pre-tax dollars, such as funds saved in a flex spending account or an HSA. And, of course, save your receipts!

Weights accessories
It’s also worth noting that the specific benefits of the PHIT Act may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as income level and healthcare coverage. Additionally, the legislation is still undergoing the legislative process, so the final details of the PHIT Act and its potential benefits are subject to change.

The PHIT Act’s ultimate goal is to improve your health. That’s why this bill introduces personal fitness as a government interest. Being more fit and taking better care of your body will decrease the potential of future health problems and limit your future healthcare costs.

What Happens Now?

A representative from one of the bill sponsors’ offices confirmed that the PHIT Act went to the Senate Finance Committee in mid-March. It has not yet hit the Senate floor. There are numerous factors influencing both the timetable and progress of the bill, so knowing when it can be expected to be voted on is nearly impossible to say.

Those in support of the bill are people who want to see their fitness and athletic expenses become more affordable (we’re assuming that’s you). You can take confidence in the fact that this bill already passed through one part of Congress with relative ease. It’s highly likely to foresee the bill going into law during this legislative session.

Fitness couple in the gym

What Should I Do?

In anticipation of the bill’s passing into law, it’s important to know how you can put this new law to work for you. 

First, if you don’t already know of or have an HSA or FSA (flexible spending account), get familiar with one. These accounts will likely be the only way that you can take advantage of the deductions allowed by the bill. Many employers offer these kinds of accounts, but you can also talk with a financial advisor for other options to open one personally.

The next thing you should do is take stock of your fitness expenses. If you have kids getting involved in athletic clubs or extracurricular sports at school, those fees can be hefty. Getting a tax break on those funds can be monumental.

If you’re investing money yearly in your own personal fitness, keep in mind what products you’re purchasing. There may be a single-item maximum reimbursement in the ballpark of $250. You also won’t be able to use it for “general fitness apparel” like tennis shoes or basketball shorts. 

Prepare for the possibility of claiming things like resistance bands or free weights to get that money back the next tax season.

What Else?

Resistance bands are a great way to work out for low cost and exercise every part of your body. Check out some of the articles we’ve written about resistance band workouts to get started:

5 Resistance Band-based Lunges to Build Great Glutes

10 Loop Band Exercises for a Full-body Workout

Fitness class using Slastix resistance bands.


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