How a Pet Can Qualify for Tax Deductions

Fluffy and Fido are more than just adorable pets who fill your home with love. During tax time, their 

presence is important. Pets can be a valid write-off on your taxes and can qualify for tax deductions. 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has specific guidelines for deciding if pets qualify for a deduction. 

Speak to a tax professional or accountant to check if your household is eligible.

These circumstances can qualify pet expenses as deductions: 

1. Moving a pet. Moving expenses that involve a pet can be deducted in some instances. 

 

• The move has to be work-related, and there has to be at least 50 miles between the new job 

and your old home. 

• Expenses specifically related to moving your dog can be included. 

2. Guard animals. If a dog is used as a guard animal for your business, then some expenses can be 

deducted. 

 

• Expenses related to caring for the animal are deductible, and it’s important to save all receipts 

to show how much they cost. The IRS will allow a percentage of the cost of care to be deducted, 

depending on how much time the animal spends on guard duty. 

 

3. Pets related to work. Jobs that involve animals are eligible for some tax deductions. 

• Are you a professional dog breeder? Do you love to race horses? Are you a dog walker who 

purchases supplies to care for the animals you watch? Depending on your job, you can deduct 

some expenses. 

4. Service dogs. Households with service dogs used for therapeutic purposes may be eligible for tax 

deductions. 

• Guide dogs and service dogs fall into this category. The IRS requires careful documentation, so 

save all of your receipts, bills, and veterinarian notices. These deductions go on the medical 

expenses form.

• Food and leashes are some of the common items that can be written off.
• Trips to the vet and training are also frequent deductions.
• The actual cost of buying the service dog or guide dog is also included.
5. Foster care for animals. Households that provide foster care for animals can deduct expenses in
some instances.
• Fostering an animal for a charity allows households to take the cost of caring for the animal off
their income. The charity has to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and registered with the Internal
Revenue Service.
• The animal shelter can provide paperwork proving that your household is fostering animals.
• Items like pet beds, food, leashes, medication, vet visits, and others are eligible for deductions.
The IRS may ask to see receipts, so it’s important to save all of them and keep them separate
from other pet-related files to avoid confusion.
6. Sales taxes. States with sales taxes can play a part in writing off some of the cost of caring for a
pet.
• According to the IRS, filing Schedule A and deducting state sales taxes can help some pet
owners. The sales taxes include the cost of pet food, supplies and other items purchased
throughout the year.
• Local sales taxes, which differ from state versions, also qualify for Schedule A.
• Saving your receipts is essential, but the IRS allows you to use Schedule A without them. The
optional general sales tax tables let you calculate the deduction on a worksheet. In addition,
the IRS has an online sales tax deduction calculator.
It’s important to speak to a tax professional about all of your deductions before filing. According to the
American Pet Products Association, pets cost an estimated $56 billion a year. Some pets can qualify for
tax write-offs, and every little bit helps if your pet is one of these

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