Tax Deductions: A Guide for the Pet Lover

In the month and year of July of 2009, Rep Thaddeus McCotter unveiled the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (or HAPPY Act) bill. The bill was designed for allowing a tax write-off up to three-thousand five hundred dollars for each year for pet care-related costs. The status of this bill as of the date of this writing: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. It would seem that this isn’t the top priority of the House of Representatives, you could possibly have a different opinion on the bill’s importance.

What sort of pet- and animal-related costs are tax deductable?

Our dogs and cats are dear to us pet owners and pet attendants. Some of us might lay claim our cat or dog worth its weight in goldinvaluable). But, pet-related expenses are, in a few circumstances, eligible for tax write-offs. For example, when relocating, a pet owner may file for a tax write-off specifically for the expenditures borne by relocating a family pet, in tax law to this purpose, a family petis treated as a personal belonging, and therein our pet dog or cat is treated likewise.

And a business could be able to deduct for the costs related to keeping a guard dog. And a volunteer host of an animal that serves a theraputic function, for example an allergy-detecting dog, could be able to deduct veterinarian bills, and such other unreimbursed expenses (this types of expenses could be counted as charitable donations). And there have also been court rulings which have permitted tax deductions for expenses associated with the keeping of animals serving visually-impaired, hearing-impaired, and physically-impaired individuals. And there are also tax write-offs in costs related to keeping animals considered part of an animal-breeding business.

Van Dunsen vs Commissioner — The Cat Lady Case

Ms. Van Dusen shared her home space with more than 70 kittens and cats (seven of which she counted as personal pets). She volunteered for a charitable organization “Fix our Ferals” with the primary intention of neutering feral felines. The volunteer deducted twelve-thousand dollars on her return. The Irs argued that Ms. Van Dusen was rescuing cats of her own volition rather than as a volunteer of a charitable organization. The court refuted the defence. The tax court did agree with the IRS, however, that a large number of the expenses ( wet/dry vacuum repair cost, DMV fees, Costco membership dues, and State Bar Dues) just didn’t constitute exclusively charitable expense.

Ultimately, all of the individual expenses exceeding $250 were disallowed as Van Dusen did not have the proper verification for these charitable donations (that is to say, a simultaneous or contemporaneous verification from the donee organization.) For this deduction to be allowable, the donee must also file a return with the Internal revenue service reporting the equivalent info comprising the written acknowledgment, such as: 1) the amount of cash contributed; 2) a description and good-faith estimate of any services or goods acquired in exchange; and 3) if the donee supplies any intangible, immaterial benefits, a statement to that effect). If you would like to deduct the expenses for your seventy cats, make certain you are acting on behalf of an proper charitable organization and be sure you obtain the needed documentation.

How do I determine the difference between non-tax deductable and tax deductable animal and/or pet care-related expenses?

So you see there are potential for tax write offs associated with the expenses borne by care of animals. And there are situations when these expenses are non-tax deductable. If you happen to be taking into consideration a tax deduction related to the costs of taking care of animals or pets, seek out the counsel of a CPA (or certified public accountant). Do not suppose that because your friend owns 60 cats, he will be able to give you with well-informed pet-related tax deduction information and advice.

In one instance, a landscaper and gardener attempted to write off for the expenses of attending to a dog that aided him in pulling a wagon at work, assumedly without the counsel of his certified public accountant. This awarded the gardener/landscaper an audit. We can assume that this caused some working-relations strain, however we can’t authenticate this possibility. Nor is it likely that either the employee or boss will speak out anytime soon.

About Shoreline CPA
Shoreline CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. Since 2002, he has been the owner of <a href=""Huddleston Tax CPAs. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

  • Huddleston Tax CPAs / Huddleston Tax CPAs – Shoreline, WA
    Certified Public Accountants Focused on Small Business
    18208 66th Avenue NE, Suite 102 Kenmore, WA 98028

    Huddleston Tax CPAs & accountants provide tax preparation, tax planning, business coaching,
    QuickBooks consulting, bookkeeping, payroll, offer in compromise debt relief, and business valuation services for small business.

    We serve: Federal Way, Des Moines, Kent, Auburn, and communities throughout WA and beyond. Call to meet John C. Huddleston, J.D., LL.M., CPA, Lance Hulbert, CPA, Grace Lee-Choi, CPA, Jennifer Zhou, CPA, or Jessica Chisholm, CPA. Member WSCPA.