Have a pet and are looking to reevaluate your finances? Perhaps it has occurred to you to try applying your pet care costs to your taxes. With the amount of money dog owners put towards their pets, many people wish that their dog could qualify as a dependent. Though we all consider a pet a member of the family, your taxes do not. As much as we might want to list our pet as a dependent, the IRS would certainly object.
However, there are exceptions where your pet could qualify for a tax deduction! Tax experts in the Wall Street Journal outlined legal options for listing certain pet care expenses as tax deductibles. Medical expenses are one such option. If you have a disability and benefit from using a service dog, the costs of training and care would be deductible. This is also excellent news for mental health professionals, since the use of animal assisted therapy can qualify as well.
Such medical related tax benefits can be applied to quite a broad range of activities, as seen in the case of Ann Romney’s horse, Rafalca. Mrs. Romney, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, attests that dressage and other equestrian activities greatly ease the pains associated with her disability. Because of the horse’s proven record of providing medical assistance, the Romney’s were able to list loses related to the horse’s care on their taxes.
But maybe your animal actually earns money for you– perhaps you have a dog that stars in a commercial. In that case, costs associated with the animal’s care and training may be deductible. If you own a dog walking business or something similar, the cost of supplies can also be listed. Additionally, if your pet provides your business with a service, the percentage of time worked by the dog can be itemized. Guard dogs are one such example, and the cost of the dog’s maintenance could be included as well.
You also don’t even have to own a dog to include pet related deductibles on your taxes. Any donations to a registered 501(c) nonprofit can be included on your tax forms so long as a letter of receipt is provided. If you donate regularly to animal rescues and shelters, this can be a substantial break in your taxes. Fostering animals through a rescue organization also qualifies you for deductions relating to veterinary expenses, food and other related items. So though taxes can be a pain, at least your pet can help with some much needed financial relief.