A gym membership fee is an inherently personal expense since it is desirable to be physically fit regardless of one’s profession. Thus, such expenses are not deductible for tax purposes. In Battle v. Comm’r, T.C. Summary 2007-27, a professional firefighter claimed a deduction for physical fitness dues with respect to his gym membership. He argued that fitness was mandatory since a healthy body was important to the performance of his duties as a firefighter. The court denied the deduction and noted that the taxpayer did not offer any evidence to show that his gym expenses were different from, or were in excess of, what he would have spent for personal reasons.
In Rev. Rul. 78-128, the IRS ruled that a police officer could not deduct health spa expenses incurred to improve his physical fitness. The IRS cited Code Sec. 262, which prohibits deductions for personal, living, and family expenses.