Can your pets earn you some tax deductions? Turns out there are some cases where they can help.

You love them like you gave birth to them and take as many – if not more – photos than any other newborn parent. They are your fur babies, and it almost seems criminal you can’t claim that pet as dependents or for a deduction or two come tax time.

Or can you? Since pets are considered a personal expense, you usually can’t catch any extra tax breaks. Which is a shame because according to MarketWatch: “More than half of American households have a pet, and they spend an average of $1,560 a year on them, many strapped pet parents could use all of the help they can get.”

However, some special situations actually could help you recoup the cash you’ve spent on your furry freeloader.

The obvious scenarios typically involve service animals, and we’ll get into that more below. But if you are fostering pets, there may be options for you as well. And of course, if your pet is earning money for you – like in acting for example – the expenses for your pet could be written off. It’s a business expense, right?!

“So, unless your little furry friend is considered a business expense, like a guard dog used to protect your business, or can be claimed as a medical expense like a seeing-eye dog, you likely can’t claim him as a dependent,” TurboTax said.

So let’s dive into a few of those furry pet tax deductions that might come your way.


  • Service Animal

    Is your pet a service animal? Service dog expenses for individuals with physical disabilities, or who need a guide dog for vision or hearing impairments, are certainly tax deductible per IRS Publication 502 — including the cost of purchasing the animal, its training fees and vet visits, as well as food and grooming fees to maintain the health and vitality of the animal so that it can perform its duties. Pet owners with mental health conditions that can benefit from the help of a therapy animal, such as PTSD, may also be able to find deductions. (MarketWatch: )

  • Moving Expenses

    Believe it or not, there is an exception when if comes to relocating with your pet! You can deduct costs associated with transferring your pet to your new home. But there are some requirements you have to follow, according to the IRS.

    Your move must be closely related to the start of your work
    – You have to pass the distance test
    – You have to pass the time test

    For example, your new workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old workplace was. So, if your old workplace was only 10 miles away from your old home, your new workplace must be at least 60 miles from your old home. And if you’re an employee, you must work full time for 39 weeks or more during the first year after you relocate.

    Once you satisfy the IRS requirements, you can deduct the cost of shipping your household pets to your new home, along with other move-related expenses.  (source)

  • Pest Control Cats

    A working animal is very important asset to any organization and luckily there is some tax incentive at work for them (and you!).  However, you must be prepared to prove that Kitty is, indeed, working and not just napping on the job. “Maintaining a pest-free environment is crucial for many businesses, particularly those in the food service and hospitality industries. One effective method of pest control is the use of cats as they are natural hunters of rodents and other pests. The IRS recognizes the use of cats as a valid business expense for pest control purposes.

    Disneyland’s use of cats for pest control in their park is a well-known example of how cats can be effectively utilized for this purpose in a business setting.

    To qualify for a business expense deduction, the cat must be used primarily for business purposes and the expenses must be ordinary and necessary for the business. In case of an audit, it’s important to have evidence to support why the cat is needed for addressing pest concerns at your business location and the potential risk to your product or inventory. Make sure you can explain and provide documentation to substantiate the use of the cat for business purposes.

     if your cat serves a legitimate business purpose expenses related to the operations of the business, the following purchases, and ongoing expenses will be deductible:

    • food
    • bedding
    • boarding
    • grooming supplies
    • veterinary care
    • medication

    Finally, it’s important to keep detailed records of all expenses related to the cat and consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with all IRS regulations regarding business expenses.” (source)

  • Performance Animals

    Is your pet a star? Of course they are! If your pet performs and earns you some money, you could claim them and the costs it takes to have them around as a business write off.

    ” For example, some people ride horses as a hobby, but if you perform by riding a horse and make an income from it, the IRS might consider the cost of caring for that horse as a qualified business expense.

    If your dog appears in commercials, television shows, movies, or print advertisements, they could also be considered part of a business venture. The same could be true if your cat is the star of your monetized YouTube channel, in which case they may qualify for influencer tax write-offs.

    Just be sure to keep accurate records of every expense related to your pet and the activity that earns income. This might include the money you spend on monthly pet insurance premiums as a means to protect your business investment.” ( source)

  • Pet Charites

    This one is my favorite.  If you are an animal foster home or volunteer at an animal rescue organization, there are some tax incentives you should be aware of.

    “Every expense paid to care for foster animals could be deducted as a charitable donation, so long as the animals are from a qualified tax organization.

    Most non-profits will pay for the cost of food and veterinary care for the animals you foster, but any necessity you purchase out-of-pocket is a tax-deductible pet expense.  If you volunteer at animal shelters or rescue organizations, you may also be able to deduct fuel costs, so keep track of your mileage. Note that this pet tax deduction only applies to driving done in service of the organization’s mission, not to your commute.”

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