The following is a list of types of expenses peculiar to athletes:

Conditioning Expenses. An athlete is permitted to deduct expenses incurred in year-round physical conditioning, unless the activity in question is personal recreation. The conditioning activity may consist of participation in one or more sports other than the one for which the athlete is paid under contract. In fact, virtually all professional team sports contracts contain provisions requiring the player to report to training camp in suitable condition (i.e., not overweight or otherwise in a condition which would impair his ability to play) and to maintain that condition throughout the season. Thus, athletes have successfully argued that they are contractually required to maintain their condition and strength throughout the year.

Example—Off-Season Conditioning

S is a star professional hockey player whose season officially runs from August training camp through May post-season play. In 2010, he signs a two-year contract which requires him, among other things, to report to training camp in “good condition” and to maintain such condition throughout the season, including the post-season playoff period if the team advances that far. Based upon this contractual requirement, S engages in the following activities year-round: weight-lifting, jogging, bicycling, aerobics, golf, tennis, squash and bowling. During the season, he plays golf (weather permitting) to relax, and plays tennis, squash and bowling with his girlfriend because she enjoys them. The expenses incurred in participating in these activities (including, e.g., the cost of clothing, golf clubs and balls and running shoes) are deductible to the extent that they can be shown to contribute directly to S’s professional hockey playing ability, but will be nondeductible if shown to be mostly recreational (i.e., personal in nature). This is a factual determination which, in this case, will probably result in the cost of the weight-lifting, jogging, biking and aerobics being deductible, and the rest being nondeductible.

Example—Athlete’s Business Expenses

P is a rookie professional golfer on the PGA Tour. In 2010, he travels to 24 cities to play in tournaments. In every city he pays daily taxi fares for transportation to the country club where that week’s tournament is being held, pays for dry cleaning his playing clothes because of the national television exposure, purchases three sets of $60.00 tournament tickets for the three most prominent local sports journalists so that they will be more inclined to feature him in their newspaper columns, and subscribes to a golfing magazine to keep up with Tour developments and the activities of his competitors. All of these expenses are deductible under the rules explained above, but the deductible amount of the tournament tickets will be limited to $25.00 per donee under the business gift rule.