New bill aims to get rid of 'fitness tax' in Tennessee

WATCH: New bill aims to get rid of 'Fitness Tax' in Tennessee

A Tennessee Senate bill is trying to get rid of an added tax for health clubs and fitness facilities.

Small gym owners in Memphis are onboard because the current law puts a sales tax on gym membership fees, classes and personal trainers.

The amusement tax affects members who go to gyms that are less than 15,000 square feet like the Envision gym downtown.

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The amusement tax charges about a 10 percent sales tax on memberships, classes and personal training for its members.

“Calling it an amusement tax is a little condescending because it’s obviously very important to people for a variety of reasons, like heart health and cardiovascular health,” said Envision gym owner Mark Akin.

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According to a study conducted by the “State of Obesity,” Tennessee ranks 15th in the country for obese adults.

Akin said this tax cuts into their revenue and puts them at an unfair advantage when competing against larger gyms like Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness.

“It just seems very unfair, either we shouldn’t have to pay tax, or everyone should have to pay tax,” said Akin.

According to Forbes Magazine, a bill in the 2018 legislative session would have eliminated the amusement tax on health and fitness centers, but it failed to pass before the session finished in April.

This legislative session, Senate Bill 8 was introduced, which will eliminate the amusement tax if passed.

The other owner Joanna Harris hopes this ends up happening.

“Ten percent is the equivalent of having a salaried employee, and giving that job or equipment that’s needed and putting it toward different benefits and activities we could do,” said Harris.

If the bill is passed it would go into effect on July 1.