A Tax Guide for the Pet Owner

In the month of July of 2009, Representative Thaddeus McCotter unveiled the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (or HAPPY Act) bill. The HAPPY Act pushed for allowing a tax deduction up to 3,500 in each year for pet-related costs. The current status of this bill at the date of this article: “Referred to House Committee on Ways and Means.” It appears that this just isn’t the top priority , you could possibly have a divergent view on that.

So what sort of animal- and pet-related costs are eligible for tax deduction?
Our pets are dear to us pet owners. Some of us might think our family pet worth its weight in gold). But, pet-related expenses are, in some circumstances, eligible for tax write-offs. For instance, when relocating, a pet owner can file for a tax write-off specifically for the expenditures borne by moving a family pet, in tax law under these conditions, a pet could be viewed as a personal effect, and therein Spot or Mittens is treated likewise.

Also a business may very well be permitted to write off for the costs of having a guard dog. Or a volunteer host of a therapy animal, like a guide dog, may well be able to deduct vet bills and expenses, and other like unreimbursed expenses (these types of expenses can be considered charitable donations). There have similarily been court room rulings which have favored tax write-offs for costs associated with the keeping of animals serving the visually-, physically-,and hearing-impaired individuals. And there are additionally tax write-offs in expenses related to keeping animals considered part of an animal-breeding enterprise.

Van Dunsen vs Commissioner — The Cat Lady Case
Van Dusen cohabitated with about 70 cats (seven of which she counted as personal pets). She volunteered for a charitable organization (named “Fix our Ferals”) with the focus of neutering wild cats. This volunteer deducted twelve-thousand dollars on her return. The Irs argued that the woman was rescuing cats of her own volition rather than as a volunteer of a charity. The court denied this pitch. The court agreed with the IRS, however, that some of the expenses (such as State Bar Dues and Costco membership dues) wouldn’t constitute exclusively charitable expenses.

Finally, all individual expenses exceeding $250 were disallowed considering that Ms. Van Dusen failed to present corresponding required verification for such charitable donations (that is to say, a contemporaneous or simultaneous verification from the donee organization.) For the deduction to be allowed, the donee must file a return with the IRS reporting the corresponding info that would be included in the written acknowledgment, such as: 1) the amount contributed; 2) a description and good-faith estimate of any services or goods received in exchange; and 3) if the donee provides any intangible, immaterial benefits, a statement of such). If you want to write off the expenses for your seventy cats, be certain you are acting on the behalf of an adequate charitable organization and make sure you have the required documentation.

How do I differentiate between tax deductable and non-tax deductable animal or pet care-related expenses?
So you see there are potentialities for tax deductions for the expenses incurred by care of animals. And there are conditions when these expenditures are non-tax deductable. If you are making plans for a tax deduction related to the expenses of looking after animals, seek the counsel of a CPA (certified public accountant). Do not expect that just because your neighbor owns twenty cats, she is able to offer you with educated pet-related tax deduction counsel.

In one unusual illustration, a landscaper and gardener attempted to deduct for the expenses of attending to a dog which assisted him in pulling a cart on the job, presumably without the advice of a tax accountant. This granted the lawn specialist an audit. You might assume this precipitated working-relations strain, however we cannot confirm this notion. Nor is it likely that either the boss or dog will speak on the record anytime soon.

Seattle CPAsAbout Seattle CPAs
Seattle CPAs+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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