Make Fido and Fluffy deductible?
A bill in Congress would let owners deduct the costs of pet care. The Tax Court has ruled in favor of a charitable deduction for foster cats, but there are no breaks for pets so far.
This post is by Robert W. Wood of Forbes.com.
Are you getting tax benefits from your pets? Probably not, and the IRS is unlikely to help. But Congress might. A proposed bill would allow tax deductions for pets even though they can’t be claimed as dependents like people.
The bill, H.R. 3501, introduced as the "Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years" (aka HAPPY) Act, would allow deductions of up to $3,500 a year for pet expenses. It was introduced by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., and co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.
Help for people with pet expenses is not a new idea, but the HAPPY Act is at least a serious -- though so far unsuccessful -- effort. But is it going anywhere? It seems doubtful, perhaps little more than wishful thinking.
Introduced initially in 2009, HAPPY has languished in Congress despite endorsements by the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Law Coalition, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.
The bill limits tax benefits to true pets, not business animals. Excluded are research animals and animals involved in a trade or business, such as farm animals that have been the subject of another type of tax deduction within the preceding three years. The law as proposed would not be limited to small animals or to any particular types of animal. (Post continues after video.)
"Qualified pet care expenses" would include food and veterinary costs, but exclude the cost of acquiring the pet. Whether your pets are rescues or expensive purebreds, you probably love them like members of the family. And that should mean tax deductions, shouldn’t it?
You can’t mention this topic without crowing about Cat Lady Goes To Tax Court, the big Tax Court decision that could embolden legions of animal lovers. Disagreeing with the Internal Revenue Service, the Tax Court upheld the cat lady’s charitable contribution deduction for unreimbursed monies she laid out to care for a passel of cats -- sometimes 70 or 80 -- in her 1,400-square-foot home. Although she had seven pet (personal) cats, too, the Tax Court said 90% of her veterinary and pet supply expenses and 50% of her cleaning supply and utility expenses were for the foster cats. That meant charitable contribution deductions.
For most of us, though, we’ll probably have to wait until Congress changes the law.
More from Forbes.com and MSN Money:
- Homes with incredible pet amenities
- Congress bites at pet exemption
- 18 ways to get tax-free income
- Can't get tax credit? Maybe your kid can
- Cheaper adoptions, thanks to IRS
- A tax break for mustache maintenance?
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
I don't want to have human children, so my animals are my kids. It is unfair to make that decision and to have to bear the costs of everything related to my "children", meanwhile people who have human children get tax breaks for having them - the more the marrier. Public Assistance - the more kids the more money you get... Not to mention you don't have to spend tax payers dollars to send fido to school! Doesn't seem fair.
I feel that this is a great idea...if you can deduct kids well then why not deduct for animals??? I'm an animal rights person so of course I would feel this way. Hey look...talk about waste of $$, I was in the grocery store the other day and there was a woman in line who paid with food stamps which is fine but...when she reached in her pocket to get them, she took out a wad of $$ that I couldn't believe. That's a waste. AND...she was not even an American. So..think about it...WASTE OF TAX $$
I have PTSD and for the past 4 years my dog has help me tremendously. I'm an Iraqi war veternan and sometimes my dog helps get through the day and keeps me company when I feel lonely.
I should be able to claim on my taxes, as a matter fact I think we should DEMAND IT!
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