Proposed Fitness Tax Credit Could Save Canada $2.5 Billion

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October 28, 2013 – A study released recently by the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) shows that a proposed tax credit for adults who exercise could result in $2.5 billion in health care savings. The study counters opponents’ argument that the new credit could cost Canada up to $50 million a year in losses in tax revenue.
The proposal would allow citizens to claim up to $500 on gym memberships, classes, skiing, and similar activities. On tax forms, the credit would be $75. In addition to cutting Canada’s health care costs, the credit would encourage one million more Canadians to become active, according to the FIC study.
“It will be interesting to watch how our neighbors to the north handle the question of a tax credit for physical activity,” said Eric Willin, COO, of the fitness facility management software developer EZFacility, in Bethpage, New York. “From an industry perspective, I’d want to know whether fitness facilities in the country experience an increase in membership and retention rates after the credit is in effect.”
While a children’s fitness tax credit has been in place in Canada since 2007, with the same parameters — families can claim up to $500 spent on fitness programs for a child and receive a tax credit of $75 — no statistics exist yet to show whether the credit has increased children’s participation in exercise programs, and whether health costs savings have resulted.
The campaign for an adult fitness credit was introduced in April, 2011, and supporters hope the credit will be implemented when the government’s budget is balanced, which is projected to occur in 2015.