Can You Claim Your Pets On Your Taxes? Tax Write-Offs For Pet Owners

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According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans spent more than $70 billion on pets in 2018 only. When it comes to these furry friends, Americans cannot stop spending. Most of the money spent on pets goes to veterinarians. Pet parents consider pets as part of the family, and that is why they spend that much money on them.
So, the question is... can you claim your pets on your taxes? No, you cannot! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not allow you to claim your cat, pig, dog or whatever pet you own as a dependent. However, the IRS does allow some instances where you can have some pet costs written off, especially if you put your pet to work or if your affection for these fur friends translates philanthropically.

Can You Claim Your Pets On Your Taxes?

We all know that the best way to prepare for tax season is to deduct expenses. What is the implication of pets on your taxes? Here are some of the tax write-offs for pet owners.

1. Charitable Write-Offs

Many pet owners get their fur children from shelters. If you had not adopted your dog or cat, maybe no one else would have. When you adopt pets from a shelter, they hold a special place in your heart, and you are willing to do so much for them. You not only provide for these animals, but you also shower them with your love and attention.
Track the expenses spent on such pets and you could have them counted as a charitable donation. Good records are one of the sure ways of getting write-offs. Therefore, add up all costs together with donations you made to rescue groups. Do not forget to have proof of any volunteer work.

2. Business Animals Write-Offs

Many business people have put up signs at their business’ window that state “beware of dog,” but they do not know that such can earn them some deductions. The IRS is willing to grant your business deductions because of your dog’s work-related expenses. You incur costs keeping the dog around the business premises because you have to ensure that your furry friend remains in perfect guard condition.
You feed the dog, you incur vet costs, and you might have had the dog undergo training. Such expenses are deductible under business expenses. As is with the charitable write-offs, you should be ready to provide accurate records that show that your animal has been doing the job. You will benefit more if you prove that the animal has been protecting your livelihood’s catalog.
Take note that this claim will hold more weight if your pet is the type of breed that is well suited for such duties. A Chihuahua, which barks loudly, is less likely to be considered as compared to a German Shepherd, a Pinscher or a Doberman.

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3. Medical Write-Offs

Medical deductions apply when you own a pet because you need help with a medical condition such as blindness, or reduced hearing. If you own a dog that helps someone with a medical condition, then you can include its expenses in your medical expenses. The expenses might include the cost of purchasing food, training the dog and even taking it to the vet for a check-up.
All these are necessary to ensure that the animal remains in perfect condition to help you and your loved one. You might also be suffering from a mental or physical illness that requires the attention of a skilled therapy animal. The costs you incur on such a pet can be included under your overall medical expenses.

4. Animal Trusts

Sometimes our furry friends live longer than their pet parents do, and that has seen many pet owners start to include their pets in their wills. Some also decide to establish trusts for their fur children. All States provide you with clear guidelines on how to set up pet trusts and the best part is that you do not have to be a wealthy businessperson to set it up.
However, it is wise that you consult the services of a qualified attorney who deals with such matters. Take keen note that the pet trust does not exempt you from tax worries. Dependent on the structure of the trust, the accountable tax party could be the animal owner in the circumstance of a living trust; the trusted recipient, who characteristically is the pet’s caretaker; or even the trust itself.
Either way, animal trusts are a sure way of taking care of your pet after you leave.

5. Hobby Turned Business Deduction

Many pet owners enjoy posting cute animal videos on Instagram and YouTube, with such posts gathering thousands, if not millions of views and quite a number of responses. Through such posts, many people attract revenue together with some ad income. This is not just a hobby. Turn it into a business because hobby expenses are not deductible.
Once you turn this hobby into a profitable business, you can deduct expenses associated with your pet. However, you need to make sure that the earnings exceed the expenses for 3 out of 5 years.
Do not worry if you cannot achieve this, because you can prove you have been trying to make the business work by maintaining proper business records, showing records of accomplishment in other ventures, among other ways.

Can You Claim Your Pets On Your Taxes?

In case you are wondering, "Can You Claim Your Pets on Your Taxes?" You cannot claim your pets on your taxes but you can get some deductions if you keep proper records. If you do want to claim pet write-offs, ensure that you keep proper records and present a valid case. Engage the services of professionals if you are not sure how to go about things.
Be wise, but ensure that everything you do is legal, and does not put you or your pet in harm’s way. The tax season is not one we look forward to, but with these tips, you can now prepare yourself better. Let us help you beat tax season phobia and get you started on creating your paystub today!

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Can You Claim Your Pets On Your Taxes? Tax Write-Offs For Pet Owners
Samantha Clark

A Warrington College of Business graduate, Samantha handles all client relations with our top-tier partners. Read More

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