New Push For Aussie Gym Memberships to be Tax Deductible

April 4, 2024 10:17 am in by

Australia’s exercise and active health body AUSactive has put forward a proposal to the treasurer ahead of the 2024/25 budget announcement.

The proposal suggests making gym memberships exempt from the Fringe Benefits Tax legislation.

Currently, tax deductions are limited to professions requiring high fitness levels, but AUSactive argues that this benefit should be extended to all Australians.

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According to AUSactive chief Barrie Elvish, activities in gyms, pilates, yoga studios, and leisure centres are considered entertainment.

He expressed that comparing socialising in a pub to working out with a barbell in a gym is unreasonable.

With data indicating that 36% of diseases could be mitigated through increased physical activity, AUSactive is urging for gym memberships and activities like pilates, yoga, and tai chi to qualify for tax deductions.

Mr Elvish views this potential move as a straightforward decision.

He highlighted the government’s use of the tax system to promote private health insurance and believes similar incentives should be used to reduce healthcare costs by encouraging healthier lifestyles.

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Emphasising that making gym memberships tax-deductible would ease financial burdens for those prioritising their health and promote regular exercise, leading to a healthier and more productive population.

He also pointed out the inconsistency where donations to health charities are tax-deductible while personal health improvement expenses are not.

Barrie notes that implementing tax deductions could significantly reduce the $27 billion spent on treating diseases caused by inactivity and facilitate the return of more employees to offices.

The budget announcement is scheduled for May 14.