It’s tax season! Time to gather up your receipts and figure out what you can write off. The are the obvious things, like child care, donations to charities, and medical costs, but what else can you claim? How about your pet?
While there are not too many situations in which your pet can get you a tax break, there are a few you won’t want to miss if they apply to you. Here are four write-offs that a pet could help you get.
1. Foster Pets
The cost of fostering a pet can often be written off, since the government views taking care of these pets as aiding a non-profit (assuming the place you are fostering from is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization). Things like vet bills, medications, boarding, food, litter, leashes, collars, and toys for foster pets can all be deducted.
RELATED STORY: How to Foster a Cat
2. Service Dogs
Pets that work as an active service dog qualify for tax deductions, since they are considered medical expenses. What that means is all the costs of training and maintaining your service dog are tax free. So that’s no taxes on food, medicine, grooming, collars, leashes, and anything else your service dog needs.
To get this type of write-off, first you need accreditation. Your dog needs official tags and licensing stating that they are qualified as a service dog and actively serving those in need.
3. Working Pets
Dogs that guard a house or herd sheep or cattle on a farm are tax exempt as well since they count as a work expense. So, just like with service dogs, things like food, supplies, and medicine are all open to be written off. Same thing goes for cats that work to help keep a barn or other area free from mice, rats, snakes, and other vermin.
One note on this deduction: Your dog needs to actually guard something (i.e., your inventory), and be capable of doing so. No claiming that Sprinkles the Dachshund is guarding anything — the IRS knows better.
4. Show Pets
However, if Sprinkles is capable of entering the show ring, you might find some tax breaks there. Dogs that perform in any capacity, whether it be at a show dog or in agility competitions, can be exempt from taxes.
Again, however, the IRS will need some proof, like some documentation of a competition, and a well-organized — and realistic — list of their expenses; the IRS will probably not let you write off the time your show dog spent in a pet suite.
A FINAL NOTE
If you think your pet qualifies for any of these tax breaks, check with a licensed accountant before filing. You’ll need proper documentation to prove your pet’s eligibility, so make sure you have everything before making deductions.