Can You Itemize Your Dog?

photoPerhaps something we do not always consider about our four-legged companions is the costs of their everyday living. Food, care, and medical bills all add up to some cash at the end of the fiscal year. Unfortunately for pet owners, the HAPPY Act didn’t make it easy for us to get a break for taking care of our best friends, but there are still some doors left open. It may take a bit of consideration, but with a little thought, you can find ways to get a break for having a dog.

Moving your pet

Something to consider, especially when business requires, is moving time. If you find yourself moving for work, and you qualify for moving deductions, be sure to read everything. There are deductions specifically available for the cost and moving of pets. Unfortunately, if you are moving for any other reasons, you won’t be able to use the deductions.

Service dogs

Here is the ultimate deduction, but for only those who require the use of a service dog. This does apply to all service dogs, not just seeing-eye dogs. There is a variety of medical assist pups, such as the cardio dog for the heart, hypo dogs for diabetics, seizure dogs for those with nervous system problems, and even those who suffer psychologically. Handicapped and even the hard of hearing also fall into the medical category. These deductions cover training, purchase, and maintaining. These deductions will likely require you to have a doctor’s recommendation or note on file for the IRS’ use.

The guard dog

Here is something that many people in today’s society can associate with. This would target many home based business or companies, allowing for you to purchase, train, and maintain your faithful companion. Keep in mind that some dogs may not be considered adequate for a guard dog as the IRS may not consider a Shih Tzu to be capable of doing the job. (Honestly though, I’ve seen some of the smaller breeds be among the most vicious when it comes to protecting their loved ones.)

Donate to animal shelters

Here is something we don’t always think about when we pick our faithful friend up at the animal shelter- money that you contribute to the shelter may be deductible. Depending on the non-profit status of the shelter, you can actually donate some money out of gratitude and be able to write it off on your next tax return. Keep in mind that the adoption fees themselves would not qualify for deductions.

“The decision, in Van Dusen v. Commissioner, paves the way for volunteers of animal-rescue groups like the ASPCA and Humane Society of the U.S. to deduct unreimbursed expenses that further the groups’ missions, such as fostering stray animals.” – The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2011

On the other side of this, consider the fact that you donate time and effort to becoming a foster family for a service dog. Your time, efforts and the pup’s expenses as well can be deducted because you are donating in a non-profit manner (except that you get to enjoy the pup’s company).

These are some ways to consider your pup when tax season comes around, but just remember that you should always consider your pup as your faithful friend, and no price tag can change that.

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