We agree your dog is a family member. You take them for a nice dog walk in the park, the occasional lunch on the patio, a relaxing spa day, and even the sweet puppiccinos at Starbucks. We get it they are a dependent, he IRS on the other hand doesn’t understand that relationship. In fact, they will gladly contact you if you claim your cat, dog, fish, or any other creature that brings the warm fuzzy feeling. After some thorough research we found a few situations that may help your pet costs qualify for a tax write-off.
Answer these questions:
- Are you moving your pet?
- Does your pet provide a service?
- Does your pet guard a business?
- Do you and your pet have a hobby?
- Is your pet in your will?
If you are moving and need to professionally transport your pet, you can deduct moving costs in an above-the-line deduction. You will need to fill out the proper paper work and claim it.
“You can deduct the cost of shipping your car and your household pets to your new home.”
- IRS, Publication 521
You will not have to itemize your deduction and it could help make a difficult time less challenging. Be sure to review the IRS Publication to determine your eligibility.
Do you need a guide or service dog for a physical disability, low vision or hearing? If so, you should easily qualify for tax deductions.
“You can include medical expenses the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities. In general, this includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality of the service animal so that it may perform its duties.”
- IRS, Publication 502
This of course doesn’t cover those cozy couch cuddles… unless your animal is trained or certified as treatment for a diagnosed illness or condition that the IRS approves for tax deduction purposes.
If your business has a guard dog to deter break-ins, you may be able to claim deductions. Naturally having a sign up that says, “Beware of Dog,” keeping a log of work hours, and sleeping overnight at your business may prove to be necessary to get your dog approved. You are less likely to be hassled if your dog’s breed fits the normal guard dog criteria… a yorkie probably won’t cut it. A Rottweiler, Pitbull, German shepherd, or a similar breed makes more since. If your pet qualifies, the expenses that help keep your guard dog ready to work may be deducted. This includes food, training, veterinarian expenses, and dog proofing your place of business.
Do you participate in dog shows? Expos? Or even paint portraits of your pooch to sell? Those are actually hobby-related earnings, making them taxable income, and you can use the hobby-related expenses to offset your hobby earnings… as long as the total surpasses 2% of your adjusted gross income. Keeping your receipts and a basic log of expenses may prove to be beneficial. Especially if you start making a good amount of money, make it a business and unlock more deduction opportunities.
Do you volunteer or donate to a shelter or animal rescue? Being a pet parent it is obvious you have a warm heart. If you find yourself fostering a dog, or donating cat food, save your receipts, log your volunteer hours. You may qualify for a deduction of unreimbursed expenses if the organization is a 501( C ) ( 3 ) adoption organization. Potential deductions include: pet food, supplies, veterinary bills, and even XX cents a mile for trips made regarding shelter work.
Have you established a trust for your pet? Seriously, for several years couples have considered this very topic as part of their estate planning, in more recent years it has become a common consideration. What happens to your pets if something happens to you? How can you ensure they are provided for? A pet trust fund isn’t just for the wealthy, and should very well be part of your final wishes. It all depends on the ways the trust is structured.
The best piece of advice we can give you, Keep Great Records and be Legit. We can assure you there is nothing like having the IRS in your Business. If they do having receipts, a great log of events and expenses, and maintaining integrity is key.
About the Author: A. Milano is a native Texan that enjoys hiking with her family…furry included. Together they chase the sun only to be greeted by the stars. She is on a mission to help animal lovers find quality information from a trusted team, and regularly blogs for TopDopPetSitting in Fort Worth, Texas.