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The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

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Entries in tax credit (6)


Focusing the State House on Wellness

Last week, IHRSA public policy staff and our Massachusetts lobbyist travelled to the state house to increase support for extending the state’s wellness tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of this year.

Why would the Massachusetts wellness tax credit vanish on January 1, 2018? Was this intentional?

Five years ago, Massachusetts passed healthcare legislation that contained innovative strategies for preventative health and wellness. The wellness tax credit, one of the strategies enacted, allows small businesses (under 200 employees) to offset the cost of designing and implementing workplace wellness programs. Businesses can claim a tax credit for 25% of the cost of their wellness programming, at a cap of $10,000 per business per year.

Referred to as “sunsetting,” legislators may choose to limit a funding stream, program, law, or initiative to a set number of years, in effect creating an expiration date for the legislation. Sunsetting can act as a best practice for elected officials and their staff to re-evaluate laws and programs after a number of years, in light of new information and budget constraints.

IHRSA has a keen interest in protecting the wellness credit, which can be used to purchase or subsidize gym memberships. It can also be used to fund employee stress management and nutrition programs, in addition to similar health promotion initiatives.

We believe that financial tax incentives for exercise work to create an environment where a healthy lifestyle is easier to achieve, based on encouragement by policy makers and company leadership.

At the state house, we met with the office of Senator Jason Lewis, who co-chairs the public health legislative committee.

The good news is that state legislators will use the fall to tackle healthcare cost containment, including re-working a law that created the tax credit in 2012. With that momentumcontaining healthcare costs through prevention and wellnessIHRSA will advocate for continuing the wellness tax credit. Earlier this year, we convinced the Maine legislature to continue that state’s wellness tax credit (instead of repealing the credit), helping the state incentivize a healthier and more active workforce.


Mississippi Considers Wellness Tax Credit

Workers in one of America's most obese states may get help shedding pounds with a new employee wellness tax credit, now being considered by the state legislature. The bill's language suggests that health club memberships would very likely qualify as part of an employee wellness program. 



Canadian Fitness Tax Credit To Cost Less Than Anticipated

Great news for the Canadian health and fitness industry: the Canadian government recently issued a report stating that the adult fitness tax credit would cost roughly $268 million over five years, which is $121 million less than originally expected.

Earlier estimates were based on a 2007 report commissioned by the Fitness Industry Council of Canada and conducted by the Centre for Spatial Economics. 



Advocating for Canada's Adult Fitness Tax Credit

Canadian Groups Advocate for More Affordable Gym Memberships

Canadian organizations in favor of the adult fitness tax credit are mobilizing again, asking provincial governments to enact the proposed credit. The credit would allow Canadians to claim up to $500 worth of registration fees for a physical activity program, including gym memberships (the credit is already in effect for children). Supporters note that the measure would save Canada $2.5 billion over 21 years, according to a study commissioned by the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.

The credit is already in effect in Nova Scotia and up for consideration in British Columbia. Read more.


Potential Tax Credit for Solar Pool Heating for Clubs

Health clubs may be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit for purchasing solar heating equipment for their pools, if legislation recently introduced in the Senate passes. The Solar Manufacturing Jobs Creation Act, introduced by New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, would make commercial use of solar pool heating eligible for a 30 percent federal energy investment tax credit.

IHRSA jointly signed a letter addressed to members of Congress that asks them to support the legislation. IHRSA signed along with the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, the American Hotel and Lodging Association and other prominent organizations.

The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Menendez, is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. IHRSA will keep its members informed of updates and progress on the bill.


Prime Minister Harper Plans to Introduce Adult Fitness Tax Credit

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that he will introduce a new $500 Fitness Tax Credit for adults once the budget is balanced in 2015. In addition, Mr. Harper announced that he will double the existing Children's Fitness Tax Credit from $500 to $1,000 dollars during the next Conservative mandate. Read the full press release.

The children's fitness tax credit lets parents claim up to $500 per year for eligible fitness expenses paid for each child who is under 16 years of age at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid. If Harper’s new measure is successful, parents will be able to claim up to $1,000 per year for their children and $500 for themselves.