Jul 27, 2018

Proposed bill gives tax break for gym classes, with big exception

Photo by Shyam Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Gym memberships and fitness class fees could become tax deductible under a new bill proposed by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO).

But, but, but: The benefits would not extend to those who exercise via paid smartphone apps or streaming services.

Details: The Personal Health Investment Today Act would let individual taxpayers claim up to $500 annually for memberships and classes — a type of deduction that today is only available to those exercising at a doctor's instruction due to a diagnosed condition. It also includes up to $250 in deductions for "personal safety equipment."

  • The goal is to encourage preventative health.
  • It says that "golf, hunting and horseback riding shall not be treated as a physical exercise or physical activity.

A spokesman for Rep. Smith says that the bill would not cover subscription streaming services like those offered by Peloton, which sells at-home stationary bikes with connected monitors that offer both live and on-demand cycling classes. Those apparently fall into an exclusion for "exercise videos" and "books."

John Foley, Peloton's founder and CEO, tells Axios via email:

"We're hoping we'll be included. Scratch that. We're not just hoping. We're looking to lobby to ensure we're included. Feels we should be obviously. I think we fall squarely into 'participation or instruction in a program of physical exercise.'"

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,543,439 — Total deaths: 347,836 — Total recoveries — 2,266,394Map.
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  3. Trump administration: Mike Pence's press secretary returns to work after beating coronavirus.
  4. States: New York reports lowest number of new coronavirus deaths since March.
  5. Public health: The final data for remdesivir is in and its benefits are rather limited.
  6. Education: A closer look at how colleges can reopenNotre Dame president says science alone "cannot provide the answer" to reopening.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns

Fine testiying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump removed Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector general in April 7 after a group of independent federal watchdogs selected him to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was set up to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

New York reports lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths since March

The number of daily new coronavirus cases and deaths reported in New York was the lowest since the state started its lockdown in March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, calling Memorial Day a "pivot point" for New York.

By the numbers: 73 New Yorkers died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 200 people tested positive. Hospitalizations and intubations also decreased.