Pet Tax Deductions - thanks to the cat lady Dogsized

Thanks Jan Van Dusen!

We’re all going through that painful time of completing our taxes before the April 15th deadline. You might think there are no pet tax deductions, but to a landmark case, Van Dusen vs the Commissioner of the IRS, that is no longer the true. In 2011, Jan Van Dusen took the IRS to court claiming charitable income tax deductions for un-reimbursed expenses incurred for her foster care of more than 70 stray cats, all of whom lived in her residence.

As stated in the WSJ, the tax court allowed her to take a charitable deduction for expenses she incurred while taking care of the cats in her home for an IRS-approved charity, Fix Our Ferals. Among the $12,068 in expenses she deducted: food, veterinarian bills, litter, a portion of utility bills, and other items such as paper towels and garbage bags.

Pet Tax Deductions - thanks to the cat lady DogsizedAccording to the Contra Costa Times, taxpayers with service animals, such as dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind, can deduct the cost of food, care and training as medical expenses. Puppy raisers for service dog organizations can also claim qualified expenses when they itemize deductions. Adoption fees for pets aren’t considered deductible. But any donations above the standard fee can be claimed. Similarly, volunteering your services can’t be claimed, but any travel to and from providing those services is OK.

If you’re thinking of taking a charitable deduction for expenses incurred while taking care of foster pets or service animals you probably need a written acknowledgement from the 501(c)3 organization for contributions/expenses of $250 or more – also remember to keep you receipts!

We’re not tax professionals, but wanted to make you aware of some possible pet tax deductions. Please consult your tax advisers regarding this pet tax deduction topic and your individual tax return.