Can You Claim Pets On Taxes?

Eventually I need to get around to filing my 2016 taxes.  I work from home as an independent contractor and also make a bit of side money through various outlets so, as you can probably imagine, my taxes are always a bit of a nightmare.  But what do taxes have to do with pets?  Although most pet owners will probably tell you that they consider their pets to be a part of the family, and I personally don't even want to think about how much a year I spend on mine, the IRS seems to take the stance that dependents have to be human.  Since they can't be claimed as dependents you might be asking, is there anyway pet owners can claim pet expenses on taxes?

In certain circumstances there are ways you can claim some pet expenses as deductions on your taxes.  Keep in mind that the IRS is usually pretty strict about how these deductions are calculated and you will most likely need to provide proof of the expenses and why you are claiming them.  I'm far from a tax expert, so if you have any questions I'd recommend speaking with someone who is.  But in general, here is a list of some pet expenses you may be able to claim on taxes...

  • If you are assisted by a service animal for a documented illness, your service animal can technically be classified as a medical expense and thus expenses used to care for your service animal can, in some circumstances, be claimed on taxes.
  • Pet related business expenses, if well documented, can be claimed on taxes as well.  This can include things like the care of a guard dog that protects your business property or a cat used as a form of pest control.  But remember you may be asked to prove that the upkeep of these animals is an "ordinary and necessary" business expense.
  • Moving costs, including those incurred to move your pet with you, can be claimed on taxes.
  • If you have a pet related hobby that generates some income, you can claim pet related hobby expenses to help offset taxes owed on your hobby income.  Hobby expenses must be itemized though, and you'll only be allowed to deduct them if they exceed 2% of your gross income.
  • You can deduct money spent helping to fund qualified pet/animal nonprofit organizations.  This includes offsetting monetary donations, as well as donations of supplies such as pet food.  If you volunteer for an animal related charity you can also deduct a small amount for travel expenses when/if you are traveling to help the charity.

Again, I am far from a tax expert so if you plan on using any of these tips to claim pet expenses on your taxes I recommend you first do your own research and/or talk to a tax professional.  Claiming these pet related deductions comes with certain limitations and you will want to make sure you have the proper documentation.

There's no way around it, pets are expensive.  People should never take in pets that they are not prepared to be financially responsible for.  With that being said, it's nice to know that, in certain situations, there are ways to claim tax deductions for some of the money we spend caring for our animals each year.  Comment below!  Have you ever claimed a pet related deduction on your taxes?