Tennessee Bill Aims to Eliminate Fitness Tax

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Senators in Tennessee are hoping to do their part in promoting fitness by eliminating a tax on health clubs and fitness facilities in the state.

According to the Memphis Fox affiliate, Senate Bill 8 would do away with current sales taxes in Tennessee on gym membership fees, classes and personal trainers.

The current 10 percent “amusement tax” affects members who to go to gyms that are less than 15,000 square feet. 

“Calling it an amusement tax is a little condescending because it’s obviously very important to people for a variety of reasons, like heart health and cardiovascular health,” Envision gym owner Mark Akin told Fox.

Akin said the tax impacts his club’s revenue and puts smaller facilities at a disadvantage when competing against larger gyms like Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness.

“It just seems very unfair, either we shouldn’t have to pay tax, or everyone should have to pay tax,” said Akin. 

Joanna Harris, owner of another Memphis gym, put the tax in perspective. “Ten percent is the equivalent of having a salaried employee, and giving that job or equipment that’s needed and putting it toward different benefits and activities we could do,” she said.

A bill in the 2018 legislative session would have eliminated the amusement tax on health and fitness centers, but it failed to pass before the session finished in April.

If the current bill is passed it would go into effect on July 1.

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