Cost can be a significant barrier to a healthy lifestyle. U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a self-described "lifelong athlete and fitness enthusiast," reintroduced the PHIT Act in 2021 to help lower that barrier and "empower people to make healthy choices, get active and hopefully avoid the onset of costly chronic conditions."

PHIT: Personal Health Investment Today

The COVID-19 pandemic “highlighted a critical issue,” according to Tom Cove, CEO and President of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). “Inactive individuals were at higher risk of severe COVID outcomes.

“Our research has shown time and again that individuals in lower-income households are less active. Following the catastrophic consequences of the COVID-19 virus, we must make healthy, active lifestyles a national priority, and PHIT allows us to do that by making it affordable for American families.”

Tax Break for Athletic Purchases

The Personal Health Investment Today Act [H.R. 3109 + S. 844] would incentivize healthier living by giving a medical care tax deduction for up to $1,000 ($2,000 for a joint return or 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. Examples include a gym membership, fitness equipment like a treadmill or signup costs to join a youth sports league. The tax write-offs do not include purchases for such activities as golf, hunting, sailing or horseback riding.

The PHIT Act originally was introduced by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) in the House and by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) in the Senate. The bill passed the House in 2018, but the session ended before the Senate could vote on its version. The bill was updated and reintroduced in 2021 by Thune and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in the Senate and by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) in the House. You can help #passPHIT by sending your U.S. representative and senators a note expressing your support for the PHIT Act.

FIND the link to your U.S. Representative.

FIND the link to your U.S. Senators.

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