Can Your Best Four-Legged Friend Be A Tax Deduction?

Tax Tips for Dog Owners

tax tips

Finding ways to maximize your tax deductions is always good practice, during tax season. While a dog cannot be an actual dependent—although you may find you treat your pooch like a child—there often are some deductions you can claim.

Now, we must say that we are not legal experts, so it is a wise idea to always talk to your accountant before adding any type of deductions that may be questionable or open to interpretation. Remember, for any dog-related deductions, you will need to ensure you have the receipts and the required documentation should there ever be a question as to the accuracy of the deduction.

Dog Related Businesses

If you have a business related to the care of dogs that you operate from your home or in another location, you will have specific business deductions that can be taken. These include everything from supplies and materials to advertising for the business, or even training and education you may have taken in the past year.

Remember, if you have your own dogs, you cannot deduct materials, equipment, or supply costs for your own personal pets. It will be important to ensure that personal expenses and business expenses are also clearly delineated in your record keeping, including any mileage or transportation costs associated with your business (if this is applicable).

Moving and Dogs

If you move during the year and the move itself is a deduction, the cost of moving your dog may also be an eligible deduction. This would include any specific expenses related to the dog and the move. As with all expenses, make sure you keep the receipts. You cannot charge your mileage to move your dog, but if your dog is brought to the new home by different means than your personal travel, you can deduct the cost of the special transportation.

Therapy Animals

This is a deduction that needs to be carefully documented. If you are a person that is eligible for a guide dog for vision or hearing loss support, or if you have another qualifying condition and have a trained therapy dog, the vet expenses, food, grooming services, and the purchase and training of the dog can all be eligible deductions.

However, the IRS will need to verify the dog is a trained therapy dog and certified by an approved training facility. In addition, you must have official documentation of a diagnosis and recommendation by a medical professional for the use of a guide dog.

Guard Dogs

This is a deduction that can be used for a business, but it’s not likely to pass IRS scrutiny for a personal deduction. When a dog has a job of guarding a business property, the cost of caring for and maintaining the dog can be partially deducted based on the percentage of time the dog is doing his or her job of protecting the property.

Donations to Pet Charities

Any donations made to registered and qualified 501(c)(3) organizations can be deductions. Additionally, if you foster animals for a recognized pet adoption agency, any fostering expenses that are not reimbursed by the shelter may also be deductible. You will need to keep receipts and have official documentation from the shelter that your home is being used as a foster facility for the animals.

Again, always check with your accountant before making any pet-related deductions. But depending on your itemized deductions and your tax situation, they may be well worth considering when it is time to file.