for inclusion of expenses towards fitness services under Section 80D benefits
The startup’s co-founder Mr Akshay Verma was invited by the ministry for consultations on the Union Budget 2019
New Delhi, January 30, 2019: FITPASS, India’s #1 smart fitness solutions startup has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance to include expenses on fitness services in the tax benefits issued under Section 80D. This covers memberships to gyms, fitness studios, yoga centres, sports academies or fitness programmes. This is further to the invitation extended by the hon’ble finance minister to the venture’s co-founder for presenting his recommendations in this area. Through this, FITPASS hopes to take a concrete step towards making fitness accessible and affordable for all, as an integral part of its #MakeIndiaFit campaign.
Statistics indicate that about 54.4% Indians are physically inactive, which is one of the major reasons for the high incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc in the country. Medicines account for about 42% of a family’s out-of-pocket spending. Currently, Under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act 1961, a taxpayer can claim deductions for check-ups and healthcare premiums. Tax benefits are provided for medical expenses up to INR 40,000. The need of the hour is to extend these benefits to preventive care and FITPASS’ recommendations focus on this.
Speaking about this, Mr Akshay Verma, Co-founder, Fitpass, said, “It is indeed an honor to present our recommendations to the finance ministry for realizing the vision of a fitter and healthier India. Our government launched the ‘Hum Fit Toh India Fit’ and ‘Swasth Bharat’ campaigns to encourage Indians to get healthy and stay fit. There is a fitness crisis in our country currently with 1 in 3 Indians being medically unfit. And we need to fix this urgently. It will therefore be a prudent move to extend tax benefits for not just curing a medical condition but also preventing it from occurring at the outset.
We, at FITPASS, believe that supporting and giving incentives to those who invest in their own fitness can encourage more people to follow suit. The outcome will be a country with healthier people who can contribute productively to its growth and development. We are hopeful that the ministry will consider our proposal.”
FITPASS has also suggested that salaried employees be provided with a deduction from salary income upon reimbursement of expenses on fitness, similar to that given for medical expenses, preventive health checkups, etc. This will reduce the spending on treatment and avoid burning a hole in a family’s income. The idea is to prevent a health issue as opposed to curing it.