Pets are members of the family, but as much as you love them you can’t claim them on your annual tax return – unless they’re a certified service animal. You can’t claim them as a deduction, but you can claim the cost of their medical care, training and maintenance.
The IRS doesn’t recognize therapy animals as certified service animals. If you’re visually impaired, have audio deficits, or have a physical disability, then you can claim certain expenses for your service animal. Be very careful when trying to claim expenses for an animal on your taxes. It’s best to hire a tax professional or you could find yourself running afoul of the IRS.
Some of the expenses you can claim for your certified service dog includes veterinary bills, grooming, training and pet food. Be aware that you’ll need a doctor’s prescription indicating the need for the animal and a receipt for every expense.
The IRS recognizes service dogs for tax purposes. No other animals are allowed and are typically considered farm animals. However, if you have a business, you’re self-employed, and can prove the dog provides a service for the business, you can write off his/her expenses.
An example would be a Doberman or mastiff as a guard dog, but not a Yorkie or Pomeranian. You may also be able to claim a cat as rodent control, provided they live at the business. If the animal produces income through social media, breeding, animal shows, or films, TV or advertisements, there are expenses you can claim. Very precise records will need to be provided.
If you nurture dogs for charitable organizations, you can claim the associated costs as a charitable donation. A portion of travel costs related to volunteer work at a shelter or rescue can be deducted. You can only claim 7.5 percent of the costs of your adjusted gross income (AGI), and the amount will need to total more than your standard deduction.
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