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PHIT Included in Congressional Report on Suggested Tax Reforms

Date: 5/15/13

SILVER SPRING, MD – May 15, 2013 – With tax reform currently being a top priority for Congress, the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act – H.R. 956 was included in a report authored by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. The report, which will be used to guide the Congressional effort on tax reform, included “expanding the types of medical expenses that can be paid from Health Savings Accounts”. The PHIT Act would expand the IRS definition of a medical expense to include physical activity as a form of preventive medicine. 

PHIT was first introduced in 2007 and has been re-introduced in every Congress since, having always enjoyed strong bi-partisan support from Members of Congress across the political spectrum.  PHIT is an innovative concept that addresses two major Congressional concerns: rising health care costs and the budget deficit. PHIT will help reverse the sedentary/obesity trend by providing an economic incentive to invest in physical activity.
 
If enacted, physical activity expenses could be reimbursed using money in pre-tax medical accounts.  Similar financial incentives have been used effectively to encourage home ownership, retirement savings and higher education.  PHIT would do the same for investment in improved health via physical activity.  
 
“When you look at recent federal budget performance and our future long term budget projections, healthcare spending is significantly out of line compared to most other budget items. As a nation, we must make lowering healthcare costs a top priority if we are going to get our overall budget in order,” said Bill Sells, SFIA Vice President of Government & Public Affairs. “PHIT encourages investment in healthy activities and if passed, will certainly move the needle toward a healthier population and stronger economy.”
 
PHIT coverage would not be limited to youth sports as gym membership dues, fitness program costs, adult sports registration fees, required equipment and other expenses would all be eligible for reimbursement.  While inclusion of PHIT in the Joint Committee on Taxation report is a positive development, Congress still has a long way to go before finalizing a tax reform package. The SFIA is encouraging our member companies and the general population to communicate their support of the PHIT Bill to their elected officials.  
 
The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports and fitness product industry. SFIA’s membership represents 1,000+ premier brands who account for more than $150 billion in annual sales. As the #1 source for sport and fitness research, the SFIA serves as the voice of the sports and fitness industry in the media and on Capitol Hill. More information can be found at www.sfia.org.
 

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