Now that the winter holiday season is almost over, you know what comes next! That’s right – tax season! 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 any way pet owners can claim pet expenses on taxes?
In certain circumstances there are!
Keep in mind that the IRS is pretty strict about how deductions are calculated. If you’re claiming any of these pet-related deductions, you will need to be able to provide proof of the expenses and why you are claiming them. Keep in mind, I’m far from a tax expert. If you have any questions I’d recommend speaking with someone who is!
- If you are assisted by a service animal for a documented illness, your service animal can technically be classified as a medical expense. Money spent 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 hobby expenses to help offset taxes owed on your hobby income. However, hobby expenses must be itemized. 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 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.
Talk to your tax expert!
Again, I am far from a tax expert. 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. You will want to make sure you have the proper documentation.
Unfortunately, pets can’t be claimed as dependents. This means that most people won’t be able to claim Fluffy and Fido on their taxes. The best way, currently, to help animals as well as your bottom line come tax time is to donate to a recognized animal related nonprofit.
There’s no way around it, pets are expensive.
People should certainly never purposely take in pets that they are not prepared to be financially responsible for. But, especially in today’s financial climate, unexpected things do happen. You may not be able to claim your pets on your taxes. But if you find yourself in a difficult financial situation remember that help is out there! Check out our list of organizations that help provide financial help with veterinarian care. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your pet’s veterinarian or any local animal rescue organization. If they aren’t able to give you and your pet the help that you need, they may be able to direct you towards an organization that can.
Comment below! Are you looking forward to tax season (note my sarcasm there!)? Have you ever been in a position to be able to claim any of your pets expenses on your taxes?
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