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 purposes.”

Which boils down to this: the IRS will let your customer 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.

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.

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 mentioning to customers who walk in looking to buy a spa for pain relief. Have they asked their doctor for a hot tub Rx? If they have one, or are willing to get one, they just dropped their price dramatically without dropping your price at all.

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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.

Wouldn’t do us any harm, either.

Scott Webb is Executive Editor of AQUA Magazine.