What Your Veterinarian Should Tell You Before Tax Day

Tax Day, April 17th, is fast approaching. One of the fiscal perks (maybe the only?) that comes with having children is getting a small tax credit. What about pet owners, many of whom consider their pets to be a part of their family? These furry family members can be expensive as well, with the average pet owner spending around $1,400 in the first year, according to the ASPCA. Good news, pet owners: you may be able to deduct costs related to your pet, as long as he serves another purpose besides providing undying devotion, and you can prove it. Here are 4 pet-related areas that could possibly provide you a deduction.

Business Animals

It’s not easy to claim your pet as a business expense, but if your pet guards your business location, you may be in luck. Dogs that work as a security measure for a business fall into the category of a business animal. That being said, it has to be believable—Chihuahuas probably won’t qualify. Even cats that “work” as rodent control at a business may qualify. Owners of business animals may be able to deduct expenses like food, veterinary care, and training related to the animal’s job. Just make sure you keep records about the animal’s hours and work-related purpose.

Foster Pet Parents

If you foster animals, you may be able to take advantage of tax benefits for charitable contributions. Any expenses you incur caring for foster animals from a qualified nonprofit are deductible as charitable donations, as long as you haven’t already been reimbursed by the nonprofit. The expenses must go toward caring for the animals, such as veterinary care, food, and other necessary supplies. Also, if you volunteer at a shelter or rescue organization, keep track of mileage because this is deductible at 14 cents per mile.

Service Animals

If your pet helps you in a health-related capacity, you’re likely eligible for a tax break. As noted in IRS Publication 502, deductions are available for individuals requiring a guide dog for vision or hearing impairments. Your pet must be trained or certified as treatment for a diagnosed illness or condition (complete with a prescription from your doctor) for the IRS to approve the deduction. Additionally, keep any documentation that shows how your animal was specially trained to help you with your medical condition. If you meet the qualifications, you can get a tax break for training, food, medical care and grooming.

Pet Move Expenses

67% of pet owners recently surveyed by Credit Karma Tax didn’t know that you may be able to deduct the cost of moving your pet. Moving is never fun, and with a pet involved, it can be expensive. Silver lining: pets are legally considered property, so you might be able to include the costs of transporting your pets as another item in your moving expense deduction. If the relocation is job-related, and you meet certain requirement regarding the distance and time of the move, according to IRS Publication 521, you can deduct the cost of shipping your pets to your new home.

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