Can You Deduct Pet Expenses on Your Tax Return?

Here are five ways to potentially claim your pet on your tax return, according to tips from Embrace Pet Insurance and Alison Flores of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. In fact, every expense you pay caring for foster animals could can you claim your dog on your taxes be deducted as charitable donations, if the animals are from a qualified nonprofit. Sadly, this doesn’t apply to a dog you find wandering the streets or care for when a friend can’t take care of their wanted, or unwanted, pet.

  1. This may include the costs of things like food, grooming, veterinary care and other costs related to maintaining the health and wellness of the service animal so that it may perform its duties.
  2. Owners of emotional support animals will still need the same paperwork and verification of those service animals.
  3. We’ll guide you through the process and help you report any necessary expenses.
  4. If you hire people to help you run your business, be mindful of the Employee or Independent Contractor rules.
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You need an official diagnosis; pets without certification are unlikely to pass with the IRS. There are other physical disabilities and mental conditions recognized by the government that benefits from a trained companion. Note that this typically excludes commuting to and from the organization you’re affiliated with. Sign up to get the latest tax tips, information on personal finance and other key resources sent straight to your email. Working with an adviser may come with potential downsides such as payment of fees (which will reduce returns). There are no guarantees that working with an adviser will yield positive returns.

Is a pet a dependent?

Still, if you are raising and/or training any certified assistance dogs, your expenses are a charitable deduction. As with all other medical expenses, you can only claim those over 10 percent of your gross income or 7.5 percent for seniors over 65. While we’re still waiting for legislation, some pet owners can still find some deductions. Although the IRS doesn’t specifically spell it out, it’s tacitly implied that dependents — at least for taxation purposes — must be human. If you have a performance animal, make sure you keep records of all the related expenses.

You’ll need to keep your receipts and an itemized list of all expenses, the same as with all deductions, so make sure your accounting is in check. If you have a certified therapy dog breed, maintenance costs can also count as a medical expense. We’ll discuss some of the pet expenses you may be able to write off below.

Tax Tips

Your animals need special pet transportation, such as travel crates or other equipment. According to the IRS, a poodle’s bark doesn’t make it a guard dog, but there have been cases where cats have been employed for their mice-catching skills. They’re cute, loving, playful, attention-craving, and they can’t wait for you to get home. Remember, the expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental disability or illness. The social media team at H&R Block works to provide valuable tax and personal finance information to clients – and potential clients.

You may also qualify for a pet tax deduction if they perform in a way that earns you income. For example, you may be able to write off pet-related expenses if your pet works on a movie set, is a pet influencer, or competes in events that offer cash prizes. You may be able to deduct expenses such as food and vet visits as business deductions if the dog is used to protect your business.

Prospective Owners

Keep in mind that you can only write off these pet-related expenses if you meet certain criteria. Many people who qualify for refundable credits miss out on refunds because they don’t file. The IRS allows taxpayers three years to file or amend a return to claim a refund.

If you have a service animal, you may get a tax break under the Medical Expense deduction. To qualify, your medical expenses paid during the year must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. As such, you may be able to get a tax deduction for pet expenses if your pet helps you in a medical capacity or performs certain services. Service animals are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. Emotional support animals (ESA), which provide comfort but aren’t trained for specific tasks, usually don’t qualify for the same tax deductions. Money you spend caring for foster animals is considered a charitable donation if it’s for a qualified nonprofit.

Most of us love our dogs like children, but the law doesn’t recognize them as such, and we can’t claim them as dependents on our taxes. According to the  American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022. (That’s a billion with a B.) Of that, $58.1 billion was spent on pet food and treats, with another $35.9 billion spent on vet care and product sales. For the Macans, and other families who have never claimed their pets at tax time, there is still a chance to make sure they did not miss out on anything.

Tax Deductions for Pet Expenses

Keep track of your pet-related expenses and income the same way you would your own income and expenses. But be prepared to “prove that the animal is ordinary and necessary in your line of business,” Plotts said. And no matter how fierce your Chihuahua might be, size and breed do come into play for guard dog approval. “The animal will have to be trained or certified as treatment for a diagnosed illness or condition,” Plotts said. “You might also need a doctor’s note describing the medical necessity.”

This may include guiding a blind person or providing support during a seizure. The IRS doesn’t offer a pet tax credit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lower your tax liability as a pet owner. You may be able to claim certain pet-related expenses to reduce your tax liability even though there’s no pet tax credit in 2023. Service animals, like guide dogs, can be invaluable for people with specific disabilities. These animals are crucial in alerting their owners to potential health episodes, guiding them, or providing emotional support to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, only medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income may be deducted.

If you foster animals, you might be able to get a break on your income tax
return. Every expense made on caring for foster animals could be deducted as a
charitable donation, so long as the animals are from a qualified ta
organization. Volunteers at animal shelters or rescue organizations may be able to deduct fuel costs, so keep track of your mileage. Note that this pet tax deduction only applies to driving done in service to the organization’s mission, not to your commute. On the flip side, if you own Tika the Iggy who has more than 1 million followers on Instagram, you are likely earning a significant amount of money and incurring some valuable pet tax deductions. If your pets perform in a way that earns you income, they could potentially be claimed as a business expense.