Tax Write-offs : A Guide for the Animal Lover

In the month and year of July of 2009, Representative Thaddeus McCotter introduced the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (or HAPPY Act) bill. The HAPPY Act bill was designed for allowing for a tax write off up to three-thousand five hundred dollars for each year for pet-related costs. The status of this bill at the time of this writing: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. It would seem, this just isn’t the biggest priority , you could have a divergent view on the bill’s importance.

What type of pet- and animal-related expenditures are eligible for tax deduction?
It is said that dogs have owners and cats have attendants, regardless. The family pet is dear to us pet owners and pet attendants. Some may consider our cat or dog worth its weight in goldunmeasurable). But, did you know that pet-related expenses are, in a few circumstances, tax deductable. For instance, when moving, a pet owner may file for a tax write-off for the costs borne by relocating a family cat or dog, in tax law to this purpose, a family petmight be considered a personal belonging, and as such Spot or Mittens is treated in such a manner.

Also a business may very well be able to write off for the costs related to keeping a guard dog. Or a voluntary sponsor of an animal that provides a theraputic service, like an allergy-detecting dog, may be able to write off vet expenses and bills, and such other unreimbursed expenses (considered charitable donations). There have also been court rulings that have permitted tax write-offs for expenses related to caring for animals serving visually-impaired, hearing-impaired, and physically-impaired persons. There are as well tax breaks in costs related to keeping animals considered part of an animal-breeding enterprise.

Van Dunsen vs Commissioner — The Cat Lady Case
In 2004, Van Dusen shared her home space with almost 80 cats and kittens (7 of which she counted as personal pets). She was a volunteer for a charitable organization “Fix our Ferals” with the primary purpose of fixing wild cats. The volunteer wrote off about $12,000 on her tax return. The Internal Revenue Service argued that Ms. Van Dusen was rescuing cats by herself rather than as a volunteer of a charity. The court refused the pitch. The court agreed with the Internal Revenue Service, however, that quite a few of these expenses (DMV fees, Costco membership dues, State Bar dues, and wet/dry vacuum repair cost ) would not fit as exclusively charitable expense.

Eventually, all individual expenses exceeding two-hundred fifty dollars were disallowed considering Ms. Van Dusen failed to keep the required documentation for such charitable donations (that is to say, a contemporaneous verification from the donee organization.) For the write-off to be permitted, the donee must file a return with the Internal revenue service reporting the corresponding information comprising the written acknowledgment, such as: 1) the amount contributed; 2) a good-faith estimate and accounting of any services or goods received in exchange; and 3) if the donee supplies any immaterial, intangible religious benefits, a statement to that effect). So if you would like to deduct the expenses for your eighty cats, make certain you are acting on behalf of an acceptable charity and make certain you receive the essential documentation.

How can I determine the difference between tax deductable and non-tax deductable animal or pet care-related expenses?
So you see there are scenarios for tax write offs related to the expenses borne by the care of animals. And there can be cases when these expenditures are non-tax deductable. If you are taking into consideration a tax deduction related to the costs of tending to animals or pets, seek out the direction of a certified public accountant (CPA). Do not think that because your next-door neighbor owns 30 cats, she is able to render you informed pet- and animal-related tax deduction information and advice.

In one strange case, a lawn specialist tried to deduct for the expenses of taking care of a dog which assisted him in pulling a cart at work, most likely without the counsel of a accountant. This rewarded the landscaper/gardener an Internal Revenue Service review. You can assume that this brought about some working-relations pressure, though we are unable to verify this. And assumedly it is not likely that either the employee or boss will speak out anytime soon.

Redmond CPAAbout Redmond CPA
Redmond CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.

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