February 10, 2018


6 Possible Ways to Deduct Your Pet’s Expenses on Your Income Taxes

Pet owners tend to treat their animals as a member of the family – another child. The Internal Revenue Service, on the other hand, doesn’t see them as such. Instead, the agency considers that what you typically spend on your pet is a personal expense. 

Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t claim a tax deduction on your pet, but you better be able to back up the deduction if asked to. So, what are some possible tax breaks you can get from your animal?

Guard Dogs

If you purchased a guard dog for your company location, you could deduct the expenses of taking care of him/her (health and food costs). 

One CPA said its agency has a strong stance against deducting animals as a business expense unless the expense is directed toward guarding a premise. According to the IRS, it will look at both breed and size. A pit bull, mastiff, German shepherd and other big breed is believable while smaller breeds are not.  It’s highly recommended that if you want to take advantage of this break, owners need to have detailed records of the dog’s hours and their purpose.

Service/Therapy Animals

A service animal can be claimed as a medical expense if you itemize your taxes. This includes the cost of purchasing and training them to help the hearing impaired or blind. Typical expenses of these animals include grooming, food and veterinary care. Therapy animals, such as PTSD therapy pets, are also covered. These animals need to be certified and trained.

A pet, if you plan on taking this deduction, should be doctor-prescribed or some type of documentation demonstrating medical necessity should be attained before claiming this deduction.

Pet Showing Income

If your pet nets you money through showings, the IRS could consider this hobby income. You could claim a tax break for any expenses related to that hobby.

Pets like show dogs could be deductible on your taxes. If the dog wins money, the expenses incurred for it are deductible up to the amount won.

Deducting those expenses is a bit tedious, as people would have to itemize the deduction, which something most people don’t do.

Feline Pest Control

You could deduct the costs of a cat if you’re using the feline to ensure a rodent-free place.

In the past, a suit (Samuel T. Seawright, et ux. v. Commissioner) was filed by a couple who operated a junkyard and left food out for feral cats to get rid of the rats and snakes. In the end, the court upheld the deduction states the cats were there to help deter the rats and snakes.

If considering this deduction, you may have to convince the IRS why this animal is necessary.  In other words, hiring a cat will need to common in your trade or business in order to qualify.

Pet Fostering

If you do any pet fostering, you could deduct the expenses from your taxes.

A person who incurs expenses for taking care of foster animals from a qualified non-profit are noted as being charitable donations. However, the expenses incurred must be out-of-pocket expenses – not reimbursable ones to qualify for the deduction.

CPAs issue this warning, however – many nonprofits are unregistered and won’t qualify for the tax deduction. They must be linked to a charity of some type.

Moving Expenses

Although the IRS doesn’t allow you to make a dependent claim for your pet, you can still claim them if you move because of work.  There are three measures to pass to claim the deduction:

  1. The move must be near the start of your new job
  2. You exceed the distance test
  3. You need to pass the time test

You need to move 50 miles or more away from your old home, and you must work at least 39 weeks full-time during the first year after relocating.  Once the requirements have been met, you are eligible to deduct any expenses related to shipping your pets to the new location, in addition to the other expenses related to the move.

If you feel you qualify for any of these deductions, remember it’s best to talk with a CPA to make sure you, indeed, qualify for it.  Even if you’re questioning, it doesn’t hurt to ask as even the littlest deduction can save you a few bucks.

Author Bio: Hi!  I’m Stephanie Lynch, and I work for the cost-helping database Howmuchisit.org.  Years, ago, when I had my first child, I had trouble finding out exactly what having a baby would cost.  Frustrated, I decided to create a database which helps consumers around the United States find out what they should pay for unexpected services, surgeries and so much more.  Please explore my database and even share any costs to help others pay a fair price.