This article appeared in the June 2018 edition of Aqua Magazine, a trade publication dedictated to the pool and spa industry. It was written by the magazine's editor, Scott Webb.
I’VE ALWAYS BELIEVED that one day hot tubs will get full credit for the
health benefits they provide and be seen as the medical devices they
really are. The research is out there to back this up; it seems like more
arrives every year. But more importantly, you can feel it — physically sense
the healing effects of hot tub use. When people feel it, they get it.
The foundation of this official recognition exists today. Hot tub health
benefits are recognized by the IRS and some state governments, and
under the right conditions, a customer can receive significant tax breaks
from the purchase of a hot tub.
It says right there in Publication 502 of the U.S. tax code that a
customer can deduct “medical expenses that are the costs of diagnosis,
cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for
treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These include the
costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these
Which boils down to this: the IRS will let you deduct
the cost of a hot tub if there’s a prescription (or some kind of medical
statement) stating the hot tub was purchased to alleviate or treat a
medical condition such as a long-term injury or arthritis.
How much money are we talking about here? In my case, 22 percent
of the purchase price, since that’s my highest tax bracket. So for a $9000
spa, that’s about $2000. And while Softubs don't cost nearly that much, you can still save significant amounts of money.
In addition to that federal income tax deduction, some states don’t
charge sales tax on hot tubs (again, with a prescription), including Texas
and Florida. (Sadly, NY is NOT one of those states)
Texas tax code 3.284, item (11) states that “sales…tax is not due on
the sale of therapeutic appliances when sold to individuals under a
prescription of a licensed practitioner of the healing arts.”
The state sales tax rate in Texas is 6.25 percent, so that’s another
$562.50 off the bill for that $9,000 spa.
This is worth considering for those people looking to buy
a spa for pain relief. Have you asked your doctor for a hot tub Rx? If
you have one, or are willing to get one, you may save significant money on your purchase.
These examples show that government and medical institutions have
taken the first steps toward the day when hot tubs will be fully covered in
health plans and deductible without restriction, which would improve the
health and well being of the continent in general.