Your Ultimate Guide to Pet Tax Deductions

By Jack Mash

Did you know the average American spends over $1,800 a year on their pets?

Wouldn’t it be nice to claim them as dependents on your tax return and get some of that money back? While this may not be possible for the average Fido, there are some situations where a “pet tax” might apply.

Pet Tax Deductions

Ready to see if your pet can give you any tax breaks? Here are some common pet tax laws you might not be aware of.

1. Is Your Pet a Service Animal?

Does your dog help you with a physical or mental disability? Is he a registered service animal?

If so, IRS Publication 502 states that most of his costs are tax-deductible. These include the purchase price, cost of training, and veterinary bills.

Make sure to get a letter from your doctor diagnosing and explaining your condition. It should include a prescription (or at least a recommendation) for a service animal.

This mainly applies to guide dogs for those with sight or hearing impairments. However, a therapy dog for certain conditions like PTSD might also qualify for tax deductions.

2. Is Your Pet Part of Your Business?

Do you have a “Beware of Dog” sign hanging in your place of business? Do you keep your dog there for security purposes?

Another recent trend is employing cats for rodent control as part of your business plan. (This is a real thing, and yes, it’s a real tax write-off too.)

This one may be a little trickier, but it is possible if you can prove the animal’s value to your company. To do so, you’ll need to provide detailed records proving you need the animal to perform its role.

If you succeed, you’ll be able to claim deductions for their food, vet bills, and training. You can use to help you track your pet’s expenses through the year. This will make the math easier at tax time.

3. Are You Fostering a Pet?

If you’re fostering a pet to rehome at a later date, those expenses could qualify as a tax deduction.

The catch? It must be for a 501(c)(3) approved shelter, rescue, or organization.

There’s nothing wrong with taking in a stray and making it part of your family, but that won’t qualify for the tax break.

4. Does Your Pet Earn Money?

You might laugh at this one—but think about the world of social media.

“Grumpy Cat” earned a cool $99.7 million in merchandise, book sales, and public appearances. And dog model Bodhi earns $15,000 for each “Menswear Dog” gig he appears in.

True, your pet may not make millions. But if you use them extensively in your company’s advertisements, you might be able to deduct some related business expenses.

Can You Claim Any of These Pet Tax Deductions?

Were you surprised to learn about some of these pet tax deductions?

Did any of them apply to your situation?

If so, make sure you refer back to this list before the next tax season. Your furry friend might help you save a few bucks on your tax return!

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