Updated March 22, 2023
By Robyn Parets, Founder & CEO of Pretzel Kids
You’re not alone. Many of you may have questions about what yoga instructors can write off. Some of you may even want to know the answer to this doozy: Can yoga teachers deduct yoga classes?
Luckily for you, Pretzel Kids is here to help. Although we are not tax advisors, we’re here to answer your burning question: Is my yoga teacher training course tax deductible?
But before we answer that, we’ll walk you through the process of determining whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee. This is key to figuring out whether you’re eligible for certain tax deductions at all.
Are you an independent contractor or an employee?
If you’re not sure about the answer here, check your tax forms from the studios and gyms where you teach yoga. If you received a 1099-MISC form, then the studio is paying you as an independent contractor. This means that the studio is not withdrawing any taxes from your pay. You’re responsible for paying taxes on that income.
On the other hand, if you received a W-2 form, you were classified as an employee. This means income taxes, social security and Medicare were withheld from your paycheck.
When Can You Deduct Taxes as a Yoga Teacher?
If you teaching as an independent contractor or running your own yoga business, you are able to deduct business-related expenses from your taxes. To do this, you’ll need to file a Schedule C on your tax return (you may also be able to deduct some expenses as an employee, but we recommend discussing this with your tax preparer or an accountant).
If you’ve never filed a Schedule C before, you may also want to check in with a tax professional. Why? Because, according to TurboTax, the IRS states that business expenses must be both “ordinary and necessary” to be deductible.
What does this mean? Well, ‘ordinary’ means that the expense is something that yoga teachers typically spend money on. ‘Necessary’, on the other hand, means the expense is essential to running your yoga business.
This means that spending money on the following items might be considered tax deductible as these expenditures are both ‘ordinary’ and ‘necessary’ for teachers:
- Purchasing mats, straps and other yoga accessories
- Yoga liability insurance
- Yoga marketing expenses, such as your email provider and website maintenance costs
- Yoga clothing necessary to teach your classes
- Subscriptions needed to run your yoga business. For example, the Pretzel Kids Teacher Association would fall under this category and thus be considered an ordinary and necessary expense.
- Continuing yoga education, like workshops and specialty yoga teacher training. The Pretzel Kids Yoga Certification Course+ PkTA, for example, falls under this category.
Can I Write Off My Yoga Teacher Training?
For many of you, this is still a burning question, especially if you just dropped $3,500 on a 200-hour yoga teacher training.
As awesome as it would be to deduct or write off that hefty teacher training fee, tax laws are complicated. This means that sometimes you can deduct your yoga training costs; other times, you cannot, according to TaxAudit.
Let’s take a look at when you can’t deduct your yoga teacher training fees:
- When you are planning to use your yoga teacher training to launch a whole new career
For example, if you’re a waitress or a lawyer and take a yoga teacher training course with the intention of changing jobs and becoming a yoga instructor, your course tuition is NOT generally deductible on your taxes. That’s because it qualifies you for new work.
If this is a bit frustrating, think of it this way: If you go back to grad school to earn a new degree, you generally can’t deduct that either.
Let’s take a look at when a yoga teacher training tax write off will work:
- When you are taking a yoga certification course to enhance skills required to do your job.
So, say you’re a group exercise instructor, a preschool teacher, or a camp counselor.
In this case, if the yoga teacher training will improve upon your skills and you are an independent contractor in a related field, your certification course may very well be tax deductible.
The bottom line: If you are self-employed and the Pretzel Kids yoga teacher training has helped you gain additional skills to teach kids yoga, then you may be able to deduct the entire course fee and all ongoing membership costs off your taxes.
Do Your Research
Taxes can be complicated, especially if you’re an independent contractor and a yoga teacher.
So, before you get too excited wondering “what can I write off as a yoga teacher,” read up on current tax laws. Or, better yet, meet with a tax advisor who can help you sort it all out.
One final tip: Pretzel Kids yoga offers an awesome side hustle opportunity if you’re looking to earn more money teaching yoga. Plus, your course fee is likely tax deductible. A win-win!
Robyn Parets is the founder and CEO of Pretzel Kids.