It’s no secret that the most common New Year’s resolutions include variations of a healthier lifestyle. Luckily for the millions of Americans dedicated to exercising more in 2019, many states exempt (or plan to exempt) gym membership fees from sales tax. In 1980, the “Amusement Tax” was created, taxing membership fees to sports and recreation facilities. Although most states have eliminated this tax, others, such as Tennessee, still impose it.
According to the Beacon Center, in order for a gym membership to be tax exempt, “gyms must be open seven days a week for at least 70 hours, have at least 15,000 square feet of space dedicated for physical fitness, and offer at least three of the following: racquetball courts, track or swimming, aerobics, exercise equipment, or blood chemistry and urinalysis health assessments.” Smaller gyms, like your local spin studio, are still required to charge sales tax.
The bill to eliminate the amusement tax on health and fitness centers in Tennessee was reviewed in 2018. Although the bill failed to pass, it is expected to be taken up once more in 2019 by the Tennessee legislature.