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Man's Best Tax Deduction?

Some of your pet expenses may be deductible

a dog sits by his house full of money

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In certain instances the IRS says it's legal to deduct your pet-related expenses on your tax return.

En español  | This weekend, as you’re crunching the numbers on your tax returns before the April 17 deadline with your faithful pooch underfoot, you might want to take a second glance at Fido. You could be looking at a tax deduction.

Pet parents cannot legally claim their pet as a dependent, but a recent report by Embrace Pet Insurance outlined six specific ways that the IRS will grant deductions for dogs and other pets who provide work or income for their owners. Though all are legal, it’s advisable to check with an accountant or tax expert before claiming any of these deductions.

Business Animals

If you have dogs that serve as security for your business, then you own a business animal. The costs of food, veterinary care and job training can be expensed for a business animal, such as a cat that helps with rodent control at a home or small business. If your pet provides you income through appearances in TV or print ads, movies, television or even viral videos, it could be considered a business animal.

Shipping Pets to a New Home

Of course, they’d probably ride with you, but according to IRS article 421, there are circumstances when taxpayers can deduct the cost of shipping a pet to a new home.

Donations to Pet-Related Charities

Though costs related to the adoption of a pet are not deductible, donations made to animal rescue and charitable organizations are — provided that no goods or services were received in exchange.

Foster Pets

There are financial benefits in addition to the emotional ones provided by taking in an abused, abandoned or neglected animal. The costs of housing and caring for a foster pet — including food, supplies, veterinary bills and up to 14 cents a mile for travel related to the foster work — are deductible.

Pet-Related Hobby Expenses

If you enter your pet in events like dog, cat or horse shows, any earnings you receives may be deductible.

Service Animal Expenses

Costs associated with the use of a service dog to guide owners with hearing or vision impairment can be deducted, according to IRS publication 502. Purchase, training and veterinary care are among the expenses that fall into this category. In addition, volunteers who are training animals for service on behalf of an IRS-recognized charity may deduct things like food and supplies, as well as medications and veterinary visits.