Home exercise equipment - deducting it
(Revised November 2012)

You may be able to treat the cost of home based exercise equipment as a medical expense if you or a family member listed on your tax return is considered to be clinically obese or has another illness requiring exercise. The IRS (in INFO 2003-0202) views that the cost of home exercise equipment qualifies as a medical expense if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The equipment is prescribed by a doctor to treat obesity or another illness (e.g. high cholesterol).
  • The equipment is not purchased just for general health purposes. 
  • The equipment is not readily available in a health club to which the person (or family member) belongs.

If the cost of the exercise equipment qualifies as a medical expense, you may be entitled to reimbursement through your employer's medical reimbursement plan or flexible savings account (assuming that you are in one). If the Internal Revenue Service examines your tax return and the issue is raised, you will need documentation to substantiate your claim that the purchase qualifies as a medical expense.

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