Can Your Pet Save You Tax Dollars?

While we all consider our pets to be a part of the family, the U.S. government does not allow us to claim our pets as dependents. That being said, here are some ways that your animal may be able to save you some money this tax season!

  • Service Dogs: If you have a service animal verified by your physician and medical records, the cost of keeping your service dog in working condition can be deducted.  This may include food, vet appointments, grooming, and even training costs.  Keep in mind that this deduction is only for service animals trained to perform a specific job to assist a physical or mental impairment of the owner.  Seeing-eye dogs, epilepsy alert dogs, diabetic shock alert dogs, allergen detection dogs, etc.  Our wonderful companion animals who provide us comfort after a frustrating day at work do not count.
  • Fostering A Pet: If you have a foster animal or are considering one, be sure to keep track of all receipts and mileage spent on the animal.  This includes money spent on food, veterinary care, and gas used for travel.  Since the act of fostering a pet can be considered a charitable donation, these costs may be deductible on your tax return.
  • Guard Dogs: If your business has experienced fewer crimes [robbery, burglary, vandalism] since you’ve taken on a guard dog, you may be able to deduct the expenses that come with keeping your guard dog in tip top shape.  Keep in mind that many tax preparers will not consider these deductions valid if your guard dog is a small breed, like Shih Tzus or Boston Terriers.  Large, often intimidating breeds such as Rottweilers or German Shepherds will make your claims much more believable.
  • Setting up a Pet Trust: Talk to your estate planner about setting up a trust for your pet.  Including pets in wills has become increasingly popular.  Money put into your pet’s trust may be untaxed, depending on your state’s laws.
  • Pet Shows: If you’ve got a quality show dog or cat, you will have to declare any winnings from pet shows and expositions.  That being said, the cost of maintaining your pet to “show standards” may be deductible.
  • Animal demonstrations: If you are a dog trainer or a cat groomer, you may be able to deduct the cost of care to your pet as a business expense.  No one wants to hire a dog trainer whose dog looks disheveled and unhappy or hire a groomer whose cat is covered in dander due to allergies.  Depending on your marketing plan for your business, you may be able to deduct the costs of your pet’s upkeep.
  • Moving costs: Many people who itemize their deductions are aware that the costs of moving can be deducted, but did you know that this also includes moving your pet to your new home?  If you have to take advantage of a special service in order to move your pet across town or across the country, keep the receipts since they can be deducted!
  • Donations: If you donate money or items to your local shelter, keep track!  These donations are definitely filed under charitable donations and can be deducted on your return.

 

We hope these tips and tricks help you this tax season!  Be sure to consult your tax preparer about these deductions from your pet!

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