A Complete Guide To Personal Trainer Tax Expenses

A Complete Guide to Personal Trainer Tax Expenses

If you’re self-employed you need to be aware of your personal trainer tax expenses for the current business year. 

To guarantee that you know how to do this correctly we’ll cover:

But first, if you’re looking to expand your business and earn greater revenue, an online nutritionist course can help you achieve just that. 

Download our FREE course prospectus to learn about this and all of the industry-leading courses OriGym has to offer. 

What Should a Personal Trainer Know About Tax Expenses?

What Should a Personal Trainer Know About Tax Expenses?

When working in a contracted role your employer will typically take taxes out of your monthly salary. 

However, as a self-employed personal trainer, you will need to figure out your own taxable profits for the existing business year, which will then be reported in a tax return and paid to HMRC. 

All self-employed PTs earning over £1,000 a year will need to fill in this self-assessment tax return on the UK.Gov website by the end of the tax year. For reference, the current tax year began on 6th April 2022 and will end on 5th April 2023.

In the tax return, you must report any personal trainer business expenses you may have incurred throughout the year. This relates to any fees that have been paid in order to generate further revenue for your business.

Money for Personal Trainer Tax Expenses

It’s important to keep track of these expenses as they can act as deductions from your overall fees, meaning you’ll pay less tax as a result.

For example, if your freelance personal training salary is £30,000 per year and your personal allowance is £12,570, then claiming £5000 in tax expenses would mean you only have to pay taxes on the remaining £12,430 of your income.

Once the self-assessment is completed and your personal trainer business expenses have been declared, you can begin with any of the following payment methods:

Payment methods for personal trainer allowable expenses

These payments can be made in one lump sum if you so wish, or they can be distributed on a weekly/monthly basis through a Budgeted Payment Plan. To find out which plan is right for your own self-employed personal trainer expenses check out the Government's payment advice.

How To Claim Your Self-Employed Personal Trainer Expenses

personal trainer expenses

If you’ve yet to claim personal training tax-deductible expenses you will first need to register as self-employed with HMRC. Simply follow the rules as laid out by the UK government here:

  • Register for Self Assessment and Class 2 National Insurance through your business tax account
  • Sign in with your Government Gateway user ID and password. (If you don’t already have a user ID for a business tax account, you’ll be able to create one).
  • You’ll receive a letter with your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number within 10 days (21 if you’re abroad). Keep this safe as you’ll need it to regularly log into your account. 
  • When you receive a notification reminding you to complete your Self Assessment be sure to complete it promptly in order to avoid fines. 

In the self-assessment, you can then report any and all personal trainer business expenses to be deducted from your final taxable profit.

However, doing this yourself can be quite challenging, especially if you have no previous experience dealing with financial records. 

This is why we recommend hiring an accountant, who will be able to accurately separate deductible expenses from the rest of your income. As we discuss the full list of allowable expesnes the need for this role will become apparent. 

Full List of Personal Trainer Allowable Expenses

This section will be dedicated to answering the question - ‘what can a personal trainer claim on tax in the uk?’ 

HMRC does not have specific definitions for different sectors of work and instead provide a holistic list for all business to follow:

In this section, we’ll specifically break down how each of these points can relate to personal trainer allowable expenses. 

#1 - Training Courses Are A Personal Trainer Business Expenses 

Arguably one of the most beneficial personal training business expenses you can claim, this rule applies to courses that are specifically related to your business. 

However, you cannot claim training courses that help you:

  • Start a new business
  • Expand into new areas of business, including anything related to your current business

Therefore, when you’re initially starting a personal training business you can claim your newly obtained personal training diploma, along with any further Level 4 personal trainer course as a tax expense. 

Be sure to consult with your accountant in order to ensure they know how many qualifications you obtained, and the price of each certification. 

#2 - Personal Trainer Expenses For Office Costs 

When operating a freelance personal training business you will need space and supplies to conduct your administrative duties. Any expenses that are considered overheads for your business can be claimed for.

This includes:


  • Phone and internet bills
  • Postage 
  • Stationary 
  • Printing costs - e.g. Ink and Paper 
  • Computer softwares - Can only be claimed for an initial 2 years 

Rents, Rates, and Insurance Costs 

  • Rent - Only on business premises e.g. Rent on a Gym Space
  • Utility bills
  • Property insurance 
  • Security 
  • Home as an office - Only the sections that are used for business purposes 

You cannot claim expenses if you’re outright buying access to a building’s premises.

#3 - Personal Trainer Tax Expenses for Marketing and Advertisements:

Whilst on the topic of advertising a freelance business, you can claim the following tax expenses on advertising strategies

  • Website costs 
  • Google Ad Costs 
  • Facebook & Instagram Ads

Claimable expenses also extend to the following subscription services:

  • Trade or professional journals
  • Trade body or professional organisation membership if related to your business

However, you cannot claim the following aspects as tax deductions:

  • Personal gym membership fees - These will be considered a personal expense rather than a professional one.

One point we’d like to stress in particular is this list's inclusion of personal training websites

Alone these fees are small, typically ranging from £5-20 per month, but when added together they can be a pricy cost for some trainers. 

When it comes to personal training marketing strategies, with these expenses you will be able to create additional advertisements that directly target key demographics across a variety of platforms, such as:

This is accompanied by the reassurance that you’re spending money to make money, rather than paying more than you need to during the self-assessment process. 

#4 -  Personal Training Tax Deductible Travel Cost

When questioning ‘what expenses can a personal trainer claim in relation to travel cost’, the UK government have a set list of acceptable expenses:

  • Vehicle insurance
  • Repairs and servicing
  • Fuel
  • Parking
  • Hire charges
  • Vehicle licence fees
  • Breakdown cover
  • Train, Bus, Air and Taxi fares
  • Hotel rooms
  • Meals on overnight business trips

You cannot claim the following as expenses:

  • Non-business driving or travel costs
  • Fines - Of any kind 
  • Travel between home and work

Simply put, you can’t claim for the petrol you use to drive to and from the gym. 

But, if you’re a mobile personal trainer and travel across local and surrounding areas to meet clients, the driving expenses for these journeys are tax-deductible. 

Just ensure you can provide further evidence that these trips were for business purposes otherwise they may be considered personal trips and therefore cannot be regarded as tax-deductible expenses.

#5 - Personal Trainer’s Allowable Expenses for Clothing 

The following list is regarded as examples of a personal trainer’s allowable expenses for clothing:

  • Uniforms 
  • Protective clothing 

You cannot claim your everyday activewear as a tax-deductible expense!

This can be applied if you work at a commercial gym on a freelance basis. Despite not being a full-time employees, those who work within this role may need to conform to an employer’s personal trainer uniform policy. 

For example, you may need to wear a specific colour when training clients at the facility, prompting this clothing purchase. 

If you fall into this category you will need to provide evidence that states that your clothing purchases were for professional purposes and does not make up part of your everday wardobe.

#6 - Personal Trainer Allowable Expenses for Staff Cost 

If you employ others within your personal training business, the UK government state that you can claim the following expenses:

  • Employee and staff salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Pensions
  • Benefits
  • Agency fees
  • Subcontractors
  • Employer’s National Insurance
  • Training courses related to your business

You cannot claim expenses on carers or domestic help - such as Nannies.

If you intend on growing your business to incorporate the likes of more trainers, or admin-specific job roles, then this expense will allow you to do so.

You will be able to take on these employees without paying additional tax at the end of the tax year. 

Expenses can also reduce the cost of ensuring that your employees are all fully-qualified to work with clients, since relevant training courses can be claimed for too.

For example, if you hire a Level 2 Fitness Instructor and want them to train clients on a one-to-one basis, you can put them through a Level 3 Personal Trainer course and claim it as a tax deduction.

#7 - Personal Trainer Business Expenses When Selling Goods

As a trainer, you may choose to sell specific goods associated with your business. If you fall into this category, claimable tax deductions include:

  • Goods for resale (stock)
  • Raw materials
  • Direct costs from producing goods

However, you cannot claim goods or materials bought for private/personal use.

You may question ‘what can a personal trainer claim on tax in the UK in relation to selling goods?’ 

The answer is straightforward, if you buy and sell your own products, then you can claim these designs as allowable expenses. 

Some goods that personal trainers choose to sell to clients include personalised gym wear, protein powder, and resistance equipment. 

#8 - Personal Trainer Tax Expenses From Legal and Financial Fees

Those wondering ‘can I deduct personal trainer tax expenses from legal and financial fees’, should reference the following list of acceptable cases:

  • The hiring of accountants, solicitors, surveyors, and architects for business reasons
  • Professional indemnity insurance premiums

However, you cannot claim the following legal and financial fees as deductible tax expenses

  • Legal costs of buying property and machinery - if you use traditional accounting, claim for these costs as capital allowances
  • Fines for breaking the law - e.g. Parking fines 

This is just another example of why you should hire an accountant to handle your personal training tax expenses. Not only will they successfully manage your financial records, but their services won’t be viewed as additional charges.

Furthermore, personal trainer insurance is a vital necessity that protects you should a client make a legal claim against you. 

The typical cost of this insurance ranges depending on how much coverage you require with industry-leaders Insure4Sport charging anywhere between £41.24 - £56.24 every month:

Whilst this is a necessary investment, it can be a pricey monthly bill for some trainers. In this instance, claiming it as a tax-deductible expense will guarantee that you’re not paying even more money following the end of the tax year.

These all the circumstances that would allow you to write off purchases as personal training tax-deductible expenses. 

Remember to always consult with your accountant to determine if a purchase would fall under this category or not. They will be able to provide the best legal advice as it pertains to the fitness industry. 

When learning about Personal Trainer Tax Expenses these other OriGym articles will also be of interest to you:

Working With an Accountant to Claim Your Personal Trainer Business Expenses

Working With an Accountant to Claim Your Personal Trainer Business Expenses

Throughout the course of this article we have stressed the importance of working alongside an accounting firm when filing a tax expense form. Therefore, this section we’re going to dissect the process of hiring a firm spanning topics such as:

  • How to Find an Accountant For Your Personal Trainer Business Expenses
  • Tips for Selecting an Accountant as a Freelance Personal Trainer 
  • What is Required on the PTs Behalf When Working with an Accountant
  • Why You Should Use An Accountant For Your Personal Trainer Business Expenses

This will provide you with a better understanding of why a professional is best suited to handle the finances of your small business.  

How to Find An Accountant For Your Personal Trainer Business Expenses

Accountant handling your personal trainer business expenses

When looking for an accountant you will need to contact firms who will then put you in touch with a small-business specialist. As a freelance personal trainer, you will need to be on the lookout for a firm that:

  • Specialises in your trade or small business accounting in general: When the firm that represents your business works with others of a similar nature and size they will be able to stay up to date with any industry changes that could affect you.
  • Provides the necessary services you require: Certain firms will specialise in general areas such as bookkeeping, payroll, and personal tax. Whilst others can help with niche applications such as bank loans and crowdfunding, so be sure to choose a firm that will assist in the area you require.
  • Recognition by Accountancy Bodies: For guaranteed quality look for firms that are recognised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) or the globally-wide Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

An easy way to find an accountant who specialises in personal training business expenses in your area is to simply check the ICAEW website

Simply fill in the information as it pertains to your own business and you will be met with a plethora of results to choose from:

ICAW Personal Trainer Tax expenses

However, please be aware that you shouldn’t rush into a partnership with the first accounting firm you encounter. This could lead to consequences should you later discover they do not provide a service suitable for your business.

Tips for Selecting an Accountant as a Freelance Personal Trainer

A good accountancy firm cannot only help to determine a personal trainer's allowable expenses, but they will also manage every financial aspect of your business. Therefore you will want reassurance you’re receiving the highest quality service at all times. 

With this in mind, here are some of our top tips for selecting an accounting firm:

  • Ask for recommendations: As a PT you’ll interact with a lot of clients, fitness professionals, and other small business owners. Don’t be afraid to ask these individuals for recommendations, as they may be able to refer to a service you have yet to encounter.
  • Set up meetings with multiple firms: Personalities can make or break professional connections. You want to partner with a firm that is both friendly and professional, as if either one of these traits is missing then you may not enjoy your future interactions. 
  • Ensure these initial meetings are free: Some firms may try to charge a fee just for a meeting, which will be counterproductive should you decide to not partner with them.
  • Ask about fees: Naturally, no service is free, and you will therefore need to know how much the firm charges. Be sure to make further inquiries regarding when this payment will incur to ensure the firm is paid on time.

By following this specialist advice you are guaranteed to find an accounting firm that will represent your business in the best way possible.

Remember, never rush into a partnership simply because you have been offered a ‘good deal’, or believe there are no better alternatives within your local area. Take time to conduct extensive research, as this will only benefit your business in the long run.

Once this partnership has been established you can begin sending documents relating to self-employed personal trainer expenses to your accountant. 

What is Required on the PT’s Part When Working With an Accountant?

In order for your accountant to get an accurate overview of your business expenses ‘UK.Gov’ recommend that you provide them with the following information for your tax return:

  • All receipts for goods and stock
  • Bank statements, cheque stubs
  • Sales invoices, till rolls, and bank slips
  • What you’re owed but have not received yet
  • What you’ve committed to spending but have not paid out yet, (for example if you’ve received an invoice but have not paid it yet)
  • The value of stock and work in progress at the end of your accounting period
  • Your year-end bank balances
  • How much you’ve invested in the business in the year
  • How much money you’ve taken out for your own use

A good way to keep track of these documents is through personal training accounting apps. With all of these documents in one place, you can send the information to the accountant with the simple push of a button. 

Alternatively, you can take a practical approach by ensuring that all of these documents are filed away manually, either on paper or electronically.

Once you have provided this to the accountant, they will be able to successfully estimate what expenses a personal trainer can claim. Once this figure has been generated you can input it into your self-assessment in order to successfully write it off as a tax expense. 

Why Should an Accountant Be Placed In Charge of Your Personal Trainer Business Expenses? 

Why should you work with an accountant to handle your personal training tax deductible insurance

Some readers may believe that declaring their personal trainer tax expenses is an easy process. However, as we have stressed throughout this article, those who are inexperienced in finances may become overwhelmed with the task. 

Here are just some of the reasons we strongly recommend hiring an accountant to handle your expenses and tax returns.

#1 Accountants Can Save You Time and Money

This is by far the most obvious benefit of hiring an accountant. 

Although you will have to pay an accountant for their services, the amount of money you can save by having an accountant fill out your self-assessment tax return and identify your allowable expenses typically far outweighs their fee.

As to be expected, collecting payments, receipts, and documents can be stressful. Even if you have remained organised throughout the year, inputting all of this information into your self-assessment can be a lengthy process.

When divulging this information as part of your personal trainer tax expenses, even the slightest mistake can result in additional fees and fines from HMRC, meaning you’ll pay more tax. 

However, an accountant has trained to be an expert in their field and won’t make these mistakes. To guarantee that you’re paying the correct amount of tax, and avoiding any potential fines, accountants will know:

  • What you can claim as an allowable expense
  • Important legal information 
  • Deadline dates 

Fines will begin to incur when you miss the deadline for your self-assessment, if left unchanged after 3 months, HMRC may charge daily penalties of anything from £10-£900.

After six months of not receiving payments, further penalties of 5% of the tax due could be added to the overall fee. 

Therefore, in the long run, hiring an accountant is guaranteed to save you both time and money, that would otherwise be wasted if you completed this process alone. 

#2 Accountants Can Also Help to Identify Areas For Professional Growth 

Once you have provided an accountant with information relating to your personal trainer expenses, they can also help to identify areas for potential growth within your business. 

This is due to the fact that accountants have access to your business’ financial records, meaning that they know:

  • Your annual revenue 
  • Your spending patterns 
  • Your overall liquidity

With this information, accountants could provide you with advice such as:

  • Where you can cut down on unwarranted tax expenses
  • How your business can survive a recession
  • Areas which could benefit from an increased budget 

Accounting firms aren’t just beneficial for divulging allowable tax expenses, they can also help you to develop and grow a successful personal training business.

Before You Go! 

As well as ensuring that all your finances are in order, one way to take your fitness career to the next level is to take a Level 4 Nutrition Course to offer more services to your clients. 

Enquire today, or download our free course prospectus here to browse the full range of courses that OriGym has to offer.


Enquire now to become a Level 4 Personal Trainer with OriGym!

Enrol in our Advanced Sports Nutrition course to take your fitness career to the next level! 

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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