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SFIA Sees PHIT Act Prospects Improved with Election Results

Date: 11/7/14

SILVER SPRING, MD – November 7, 2014 – With the GOP now in control of both the Senate and House of Representatives, political experts including the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) Public Policy team believe there’s an opportunity to pass a bi-partisan tax reform bill as legislation will move through Congress. This is good news for the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act as it is a healthcare-related tax incentive with strong bi-partisan support from 25 democrats and 24 republican co-sponsors.

“The PHIT Act has the bi-partisan support needed to get it through Congress and it will ease the financial burden of being active,” said Bill Sells, SFIA Vice President of Government & Public Affairs. “By allowing consumers to use funds in pre-tax medical accounts to pay physical activity expenses, we will encourage investment in physical activity and start the culture change America needs.”   

The PHIT Act would change the IRS definition of a “medical expense” to include physical activity as a form of prevention. Expanding the medical expense definition would make physical activity expenses reimbursable using pre-tax dollars in Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts. Eligible expenses would include sports and fitness equipment solely used to participate in a physical activity, gym memberships, fitness & exercise classes, youth & adult sports’ registration fees, lessons & clinics.

Over the past six years, tax legislation has languished in Congress due to ideological differences with a Democratic Senate seeking to raise additional tax revenue while House Republicans sought to cut taxes.  With last Tuesday’s elections giving control of the Senate to Republicans, the concern over adding new taxes to legislation has faded and renewed prospects for tax bills including tax reform. With true bi-partisan support, the PHIT Act is the ideal tax legislation that could be enacted as part of a broader tax bill. SFIA will lead the effort to get PHIT passed, but maintains Congress must find ways to work together in sending a bi-partisan tax bill to the President.

“We are at a unique moment in time when it comes to tax policy. Congress has identified a number of reforms both parties agree on and now has a window of 15 months before the Presidential election to move these reforms forward,” concluded Sells.

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