3 Paw-some Ways Your Pet Can Help Your Tax Refund

If you’re reading this on a laptop, there’s a good chance your dog or cat is curled up on the keyboard and this sentence may just be the only one you can actually read. Assuming you’ve successfully lured your furry friend away for just a moment to continue reading, congratulations. We know that’s a big accomplishment, and you deserve a little praise. Now, let’s talk about your tax refund.

Now that we’ve got your full attention (much to the chagrin of your pet), it’s time for us to get to the point. As pet lovers ourselves, there are plenty of things that we truly appreciate our pets for bringing into our lives: companionship, cute videos, and the occasional cuddle buddy.

But pets aren’t just the best of pals; they can also bring some serious tax benefits! While tax credits and tax breaks for pet owners aren’t as common as your usual deduction, they’re out there. We thought it was about time you got familiar with them.

So, read up and thank your furry friend for the extra tax savings! Maybe you can use some of the extra cash on a chew toy.

3 Pet-Related Tax Benefits for your Tax Refund

There are a number of ways your pet—or your love of pets—can help boost your tax refund, so let’s run right through them so you can get back to belly rubs.

1. Service Animals

Not every pet owner adopts an animal just for playing fetch; in fact, a lot of pets are almost always on the job. Fortunately, if your pet is a service or therapy animal, you may be able to get some extra deductions to defray the cost of pet ownership.

Take guide dogs. Dogs that help the blind and visually impaired aren’t innately born with the skill set. Instead, they require months or longer of specific, dedicated training that can be very costly to a pet owner. Fortunately, any costs associated with a guide dog’s duties, such as purchase or adoption costs, training costs, or ongoing food and vet care are most likely deductible because the dog is trained and certified. But it’s not just guide dogs! Other types of therapy animals, which cover a fairly wide range of animals, can qualify for these deductions.

However, keep in mind the animal must be trained and certified as treatment for a diagnosed illness. That is very important to the IRS. Otherwise, they’re unlikely to approve the deduction!

2. Donations to Shelters

For animal lovers, there are a ton of ways to help out your local animal shelter, from volunteer work to donations and everything in between. But you don’t need to let free cuddles be your only compensation (even though they’re a pretty good currency in our book).

Your donations of money, toys, and time may translate to your tax refund, too. As long as your local shelter is a nonprofit, your donations may be deductible similar to your donations to a food shelter or even Goodwill. Additionally, you may be able to deduct certain expenses you accrue as a result of volunteering.

Regardless of the contribution you’ve made to a non-profit animal shelter, you’ll need to ensure you keep a thorough record of your donations and time. Receipts, letters, and other documents will help you back up your impact and help your chances of the IRS counting your deductions.

3. Guard Dogs (and Other Working Pets)

If you own and run a business, you may have a guard dog or another pet that is integral to keeping things up and running. Fortunately for you, your expenses associated with this animal may be tax deductible!

To access these deductions correctly, you need to keep track of the time your animal is on duty. For example, if your dog legitimately serves a business purpose as a guard dog, or if a horse-driven hayride is a part of your fall business, then you may be able to deduct the expenses of food and veterinary care—because they are technically business expenses!

As with any business expense, however, this requires extreme diligence on your part. Keeping record of expenses and marking down the hours or dates (along with proportional adjustments) is the best way to ensure you keep your business above board!

Pets: A Tax Return’s Best Friend

You could probably have gone a whole lifetime without knowing about some of the tax benefits that a love of pets can grant you, but aren’t you glad you took a few minutes to find out?

For many people, spending time with a dog or cat is rewarding enough! But if you qualify, wouldn’t you prefer to get quality pet time and help your tax return? For us, that’s a no-brainer.

With that out of the way, you may return to the belly rubs. Oh, and give your pet an extra ear-scratch for us!


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