Most pet owners consider their animal companions to be family members and an integral part of their lives, but claiming taxes for them is certainly not as doable as it is for a child or other person in your household.
That being said, there are specific situations wherein it is possible to claim taxes on your pets.
In this article, we are going to be running through the most common ways in which pet tax deductions are possible and how to be eligible for them. Let’s get started.
Business/ Working Animals
Business owners might be able to get a deduction in taxes for their pets if they are providing some kind of service within your business.
This kind of claim would be a deduction that would class as a business expense, which in turn means that you would be able to provide the appropriate proof to show that the pet in question is a necessary part of your business operations.
An example of a working or business-related pet would be a dog or cat that is used to keep your business free of pests. Another would be a working farm dog whose duties include protecting your livestock.
In order to gain the necessary proof for this kind of pet expense, make sure that you keep any and all receipts that you have in relation to their care.
You will also want to keep a record of how much time the pet in question spends at your business, such as how often they are at your farm in relation to the example above.
Some expenses that you might be able to have deductions for could include the cost of veterinary care and pet food.
Emotional Support And Service Animals
If you have a pet that helps you in a medical way- such as for physical impairment or mental health issues- then it is also possible to claim them on taxes.
This is due to the fact that anyone is able to deduct any medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income in the tax year. This can include a service pet for someone who is disabled and reliant on their service animal for assistance.
Let’s look at the services provided by animals that can be written off as an expense:
- Assisting with mobility
- Assisting with ambulation’s
- Assisting with nightmares, flashbacks, or panic attacks via comforting movements such as licking, nudging, or pawing.
- Picking up dropped items
- Turning on lights
- Opening doors
- Using their body as a grounding mechanism for those with panic attacks and anxiety
- Retrieving medication bags
- Retrieving important details such as phone numbers to be called in an emergency
- Protecting their owner in public areas
- Offering security
- Reducing hypervigilance of owner
It is important to remember that whilst a pet might provide emotional support, they might not be qualified as such.
In order to claim a service pet within a tax return, you will need proof that the pet is able to aid with diagnosed physical or mental problems.
A physician’s note will most likely be required with confirmation of your need for a service animal.
You might be able to get a break on your income return if you foster animals as well.
These expenses may be able to be deducted as charitable donations if the animal in question is being fostered in your home from a qualified nonprofit organization.
When fostering, a fair amount of nonprofit organizations will pay for the costs of the foster animal that you will incur- such as veterinary care and food- but you can still make a claim back for anything that has been spent out of pocket.
As well as for the cost of fostered animals, you also might be able to receive a deduction on fuel costs if you volunteer at a rescue organization or animal shelter.
If so, keep track of your mileage, but keep in mind that this only applies to driving rather than commuting via public transport.
You can also receive some tax deductions if you have any pets that perform, such as in movies, television, commercials, or print advertisements.
If they perform in a way that earns you an income, you may be able to make a claim for both the pet and any related costs as a business expense.
This could also extend to an online performance pet, such as the star of a monetized YouTube channel. This sort of performer pet might also be able to qualify as part of an influencer tax write-off.
To provide the necessary proof, make sure to keep thorough and accurate records of every expense for your pet as well as how they are making that income, including any money that you spend on pet insurance premiums.
Claiming For A Pet On A Tax Return
Rather than a standard deduction, pet expenses need to be written off as itemized deductions. You can do this by adding up the amount of each qualified expense in the year prior.
When it comes to your pets, this could be pet insurance, vet bills, food, and more. Make sure to keep any receipts that you have in order to support your claim and proof that your pet fits into the tax-deductible criteria.
If any of your pets fit into the above criteria, then you might be able to claim some tax back.
You can also try and claim some expenses back in regard to moving expenses that incur with a pet, so long as your situation fits within the IRS’s guidelines.
If you have any concerns or queries about claiming tax deductions for your pet, make sure to speak to an accountant or an adviser.