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Business Gym for Your Employees, and Maybe You Too


To be tax-deductible, your gym or other athletic facilities must be primarily for the benefit of your employees—other than employees who are officers, shareholders, or other individuals who own a 10 percent or greater interest in the business or other highly compensated employees.


For the 10 percent ownership test, the law treats employees as owning any interest owned by their brothers and sisters, spouses, ancestors (such as parents and grandparents), and lineal descendants (such as children and grandchildren).


The highly compensated group consists of employees who earned more than $150,000 for the preceding year.


The gym or other athletic facility must benefit the rank- and-file employees’ group more than the owner and highly compensated employee group. Think of this primary-benefit test as a 51-49 test.


This means that the rank-and-file employees and their families must use the facility on more days than the owner and highly compensated group do.


To see if you pass the 51-49 test, look only at days of use of the facility.


Example. Rank-and-file employees and their families use the gym 235 days during the year and you, the business owner and your family, use it 137 days. The gym passes the 51-49 test. It’s tax-free to the users and deductible to the business as an employee recreational facility.

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