That gym membership is a step closer to being a tax break

Personal Finance

The tax break would be limited to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for heads of households and couples who file joint tax returns.

Planet Fitness stock appeared to climb on the news that the bill made it out of committee, rising more than 4 percent to above $47 a share in early afternoon trading. The stock opened Thursday at $46.21.

For taxpayers with health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts — whose contributions are pre-tax — the bill’s passage would mean they could use that money toward those qualifying exercise expenses.

However, for people without a tax-advantaged account, there’s no guarantee they could take advantage of the break at tax time.

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For starters, to count your medical expenses against your income, you must itemize your deductions. Even then, the total of your eligible health care costs must exceed a certain amount of your adjusted gross income to be deductible. For 2018, that threshold is 7.5 percent. In 2019, it goes to 10 percent.

If your expenses do exceed the floor, only the amount above it is deductible.

The legislation, which has bipartisan support, was voted on as part of a package of bills that addressed various aspects of the health care system. It’s unclear at this point whether the measure will eventually become law.

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