In 2009 republican senator Thaddeus McCotter introduced the bill H.R. 3501, nominally referred to as the HAPPY bill, in an effort to grant long desired tax breaks to pet owners across the nation. HAPPY gained good support through its early phases and received endorsements from nearly every organization and non-profit around the country that deals with animal rights, treatment, and care, but eventually the bill stalled and failed.
With the failure of the HAPPY bill to be passed into law, millions of Americans across the nation continue to care and provide for their furry family members without being able to claim the costs of pet ownership as deductions for their taxes. Which, when one considers how much it takes to keep a pet, can be a considerable financial burden.
Some have compared owning a pet to raising a child. Perhaps not in the same rearing and nurturing way, although there are plenty of pet owners who would argue differently, but certainly owning a pet and raising children are similar in the financial responsibilities category, and this can be shown through the numbers.
Just as a parent is responsible for providing for their children, pet owners are charged with the duty of caring for their pets, and this care can be expensive. Recent studies have shown that pet ownership can cost a family, depending on the type of pet, anywhere from $235.00 for a fish all the way to over $1800.00 for a large dog!
Ways to Claim Pet Expenses on Taxes
While the IRS will not even consider the notion of claiming a pet as a dependent (although many individuals have tried to do so over the years) there are several ways to receive tax breaks for pet ownership if one knows what to look for. Not all of the following ideas may pertain to all pet owners, but those who qualify can receive the tax breaks they have been looking for concerning pet ownership.
The first deduction that can be made for owning a pet comes in the form of moving. Because pets are considered property by the forces that be (the IRS) a person can receive a tax deduction for the costs of moving their pets the same way they would for moving the rest of their property.
Another way to receive a tax break on the pets of the home is to make use of the animal in one of the tax exemptible ways. One man received a tax break on the pet food he bought for his cats because he could prove that owning the cats helped his business by hunting and clearing the junkyard he operated of mice and other vermin.
In a similar way, if you cannot claim your pet as a part of your business expenses, you can try claiming the services of the animal as a guard dog. If the family pet doubles as a ferocious security guard on a valuable property or gated home, then the animal can be tax deductible for the service it provides; be pet owners should be warned, the dog must actually look the part before consideration is given so dachshunds and pugs are out.
While these were just a few of the ways to claim deductions on pets, there are others that pet owners can take advantage of. So remember, the best way to ensure that you are able to get all of the tax return you deserve is to consult with a tax professional. If you live in Utah you can visit any Check City location and take advantage of our Utah tax services.