Deducting gym fees?


B

Bill

As a soccer referee, I will be filing a Schedule C this year
for the first time (just got my referee license).

I'm planning on deducting as business expenses my uniforms,
associated supplies, dues to the referee organizations,
travel, and some food expenses on game days.

I preference my question by saying that one of the stated
requirements for keeping my license is that I maintain "top
physical condition." To accomplish this, I would like to
join a local YMCA to work on my fitness.

Can I deduct the cost of the membership?

I am not currently a member of any gym, and it seems plain
to me that it would be a cost incurred that relates directly
to by business as referee. I've read that business expenses
must be "ordinary" and "necessary." While it seems
overwhelmingly *ordinary* that one would join a gym to keep
in shape, I'm not sure how to interpret the *necessary*
part. Is it necessary to join a gym to keep in shape?
Probably not -- but when I think of it in those terms it
seems awfully inequitable. That is, who's to say what's
necessary?

Obviously, the "top physical condition" part is certainly
necessary, as it is required by my licensing organization.
But it seems strange to think of the government looking over
my shoulder telling me how I must go about keeping in shape.

I'm probably not thinking about this whole question
correctly, and would appreciate a little clarification from
somebody knowledgable in tax matters.

Many thanks.

-bill in texas
 
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P

Paul

Bill said:
As a soccer referee, I will be filing a Schedule C this year
for the first time (just got my referee license).

I'm planning on deducting as business expenses my uniforms,
associated supplies, dues to the referee organizations,
travel, and some food expenses on game days.

I preference my question by saying that one of the stated
requirements for keeping my license is that I maintain "top
physical condition." To accomplish this, I would like to
join a local YMCA to work on my fitness.

Can I deduct the cost of the membership?

I am not currently a member of any gym, and it seems plain
to me that it would be a cost incurred that relates directly
to by business as referee. I've read that business expenses
must be "ordinary" and "necessary." While it seems
overwhelmingly *ordinary* that one would join a gym to keep
in shape, I'm not sure how to interpret the *necessary*
part. Is it necessary to join a gym to keep in shape?
Probably not -- but when I think of it in those terms it
seems awfully inequitable. That is, who's to say what's
necessary?

Obviously, the "top physical condition" part is certainly
necessary, as it is required by my licensing organization.
But it seems strange to think of the government looking over
my shoulder telling me how I must go about keeping in shape.

I'm probably not thinking about this whole question
correctly, and would appreciate a little clarification from
somebody knowledgable in tax matters.
Well, you can always deduct anything. How well does it hold
up in an audit is what you should be asking.

Soccer is a seasonal sport, the membership at the "Y" is for (I assume) a
full year. It clearly isn't necessary to join a gym to keep in shape to be
a soccer referee. Those soccer referee clients I have stay pretty busy
during the season with games almost every weekday during the season. Most
away from town, and their ability to even ~go~ to the gym is limited. In
addition, I just don't think they ~need~ to go to the gym during the season
to keep in shape (know what I mean).

And then, one isn't in the "business" of being a soccer
referee to make a killing. The fees received are but a
stipend to help defray the travel costs. Oh, for sure they
can add up, but you'll rarely see a person make a profession
out of it.

Given the inherent personal nature of physical fitness, the
yearly membership, and the limited soccer season, and the
cost factor, I doubt the "Y" membership would be allowed as
an ordinary and necessary or even reasonable expense.
 
M

Mark Rigotti

Bill,

I too am a Soccer Ref. - High School - Middle School and a CPA.
...I will be filing a Schedule C ...
Correct.

I'm planning on deducting as business expenses my uniforms,
associated supplies, dues to the referee organizations,
travel, and some food expenses on game days.
Mostly correct. I would have problems with the food on game
days. Unless, your incurring overnight travel that is. My
games are all local - within an hour drive - and never more
that 3 games a day. Since games last about 1.5 hours the
deduction for food would on the surface seem to be personal
and not business related. Can you deduct your lunches you
eat for your normal job? NOT.
I preference my question by saying that one of the stated
requirements for keeping my license is that I maintain "top
physical condition." To accomplish this, I would like to
join a local YMCA to work on my fitness."
Michigan has the same requirement.
Can I deduct the cost of the membership?
I'd say no. The relationship between the two is a bit hazy
IMHO and thus the deduction a bit too aggressive for my
personal tastes.
Obviously, the "top physical condition" part is certainly
necessary, as it is required by my licensing organization.
But it seems strange to think of the government looking
over my shoulder telling me how I must go about keeping in
shape."
Is it really? I'm 45 - 5'11" and about 220-230 lbs - and
have had surgery on my knee. Nowhere near the physical
shape I was in in high school and college (I swam butterfly
competatively in both) While the licensing organization my
utilize the "top physical condition" phrase - you are not a
professional athlete. Adequate physical shape is more the
reality. When officiating in a 3 man system the center ref
needs to be within about 20 yards of the play. You also
have 2 AR's (linesmen) assisting you in the calling of
fouls. In reality you only need to cover about 1/3 of the
field physically not the whole field (the whole field
visually).

Basically, were I your CPA I'd not buy a deduction for a GYM
membership. Probably, because I am a ref (5+ years) and know
the conditioning required. I don't believe it meets the
ordinary and necessary requirement.
 
J

Joanne

Bill said:
As a soccer referee, I will be filing a Schedule C this year
for the first time (just got my referee license).

I'm planning on deducting as business expenses my uniforms,
associated supplies, dues to the referee organizations,
travel, and some food expenses on game days.

I preference my question by saying that one of the stated
requirements for keeping my license is that I maintain "top
physical condition." To accomplish this, I would like to
join a local YMCA to work on my fitness.

Can I deduct the cost of the membership?

I am not currently a member of any gym, and it seems plain
to me that it would be a cost incurred that relates directly
to by business as referee. I've read that business expenses
must be "ordinary" and "necessary." While it seems
overwhelmingly *ordinary* that one would join a gym to keep
in shape, I'm not sure how to interpret the *necessary*
part. Is it necessary to join a gym to keep in shape?
Probably not -- but when I think of it in those terms it
seems awfully inequitable. That is, who's to say what's
necessary?

Obviously, the "top physical condition" part is certainly
necessary, as it is required by my licensing organization.
But it seems strange to think of the government looking over
my shoulder telling me how I must go about keeping in shape.

I'm probably not thinking about this whole question
correctly, and would appreciate a little clarification from
somebody knowledgable in tax matters.
There are many occupations which have "top physical
condition" requirements as well. Three which come to mind
are police officers, fire fighters and exotic dancers. None
of these professionals are permitted to deduct gym expense
nor exercise equipment, etc.

I'm not sure about your "food on game day" without further
elaboration. Don't forget to take a deduction for the
maintenance of your uniforms such as home laundering and any
books, manuals and subscriptions which you may purchase.
 
D

Dick Adams

Bill said:
As a soccer referee, I will be filing a Schedule C this year
for the first time (just got my referee license).

I'm planning on deducting as business expenses my uniforms,
associated supplies, dues to the referee organizations,
travel, and some food expenses on game days.
Yes on everything except the food expenses.
I preference my question by saying that one of the stated
requirements for keeping my license is that I maintain "top
physical condition." To accomplish this, I would like to
join a local YMCA to work on my fitness.

Can I deduct the cost of the membership?

I am not currently a member of any gym, and it seems plain
to me that it would be a cost incurred that relates directly
to by business as referee. I've read that business expenses
must be "ordinary" and "necessary." While it seems
overwhelmingly *ordinary* that one would join a gym to keep
in shape, I'm not sure how to interpret the *necessary*
part. Is it necessary to join a gym to keep in shape?
Probably not -- but when I think of it in those terms it
seems awfully inequitable. That is, who's to say what's
necessary?
....
Health club fees are extremely difficult to justify as a
deduction. It might be possible to defend a deduction for
a piece of home gym equipment, but find a tax court cite
in support of it before I'd try it.

Dick
 
G

Gene E. Utterback, EA

Bill said:
As a soccer referee, I will be filing a Schedule C this year
for the first time (just got my referee license).

I'm planning on deducting as business expenses my uniforms,
associated supplies, dues to the referee organizations,
travel, and some food expenses on game days.

I preference my question by saying that one of the stated
requirements for keeping my license is that I maintain "top
physical condition." To accomplish this, I would like to
join a local YMCA to work on my fitness.

Can I deduct the cost of the membership?

I am not currently a member of any gym, and it seems plain
to me that it would be a cost incurred that relates directly
to by business as referee. I've read that business expenses
must be "ordinary" and "necessary." While it seems
overwhelmingly *ordinary* that one would join a gym to keep
in shape, I'm not sure how to interpret the *necessary*
part. Is it necessary to join a gym to keep in shape?
Probably not -- but when I think of it in those terms it
seems awfully inequitable. That is, who's to say what's
necessary?

Obviously, the "top physical condition" part is certainly
necessary, as it is required by my licensing organization.
But it seems strange to think of the government looking over
my shoulder telling me how I must go about keeping in shape.

I'm probably not thinking about this whole question
correctly, and would appreciate a little clarification from
somebody knowledgable in tax matters.
Good question! The answer is - it depends. I have several
professional athletes as clients and the IRS auditors never
even questioned gym fees. However, these guys are full time
professional athletes and have no other source of income.
If you are referring part time, you may have a problem with
this. However, if this is how you will be making your
living, and depending on the other facts and circumstances,
I would have little problem taking the deduction.

Gene E. Utterback, EA
 
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M

Michael T Wing CPA

Bill said:
Can I deduct the cost of the membership?
Per IRC 274, deductions for dues paid to "any club organized
for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purpose"
are specifically disallowed.

MTW
 

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