Is a Dog Your Tax Refund’s Best Friend?

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The article below is up to date based on the latest tax laws. It is accurate for your 2019 taxes (filed in 2020) and 2018 taxes, which should be filed by the April 15th, 2019 (or October 2019 with filed extension) deadline.

National Dog Day is the perfect day to reflect on all of the fantastic benefits, responsibilities, and fun that come with being a dog owner. Taking care of a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience, especially because of the love and affection you receive from your furry friend. At the same time, you’ll want to put plenty of attention and money into your dog to make sure they’re doing well and are healthy.
Though your dog may feel like your child at times, the IRS does not let you claim them as dependents on your taxes. There are, however, some exceptions and handy tax deductions you should be aware that may help you come tax time, which may lead to a bigger refund.

Animal Shelters

Do you give donations and/or volunteer at your local non-profit animal shelter? Keep any related receipts and letters as you may be able to claim tax deductions for your donations and some expenses of your volunteer work.

Service and Therapy Animals

If your paw-some sidekick is a service animal, such as a guide dog, you can deduct expenses you incurred from buying, training and taking care of him/her. These expenses could include food and vet care (as it relates to your pet’s duties). Please keep in mind that the animal must be trained/certified as a treatment for a diagnosed illness or condition in order for the IRS to approve the tax deduction.

Guard Dogs

Run a business and have a guard dog? You may be able to deduct expenses such as food and vet visits as business deductions if the dog is used to protect your business. To keep things legitimate, make sure you keep accurate and thorough records of your pet’s working hours on business premises. As weird as it sounds, just like other business deductions, your dog’s value may be depreciated for tax purposes.

Learn More About Pets and Taxes

Like many tax-related questions, the answer to claiming tax deductions depends on you meeting qualifying circumstances as determined by the IRS.
Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. TurboTax asks you simple questions about you and gives you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your answers. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent to get your tax questions answered. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish and can also review, sign and file your tax return.

One response to “Is a Dog Your Tax Refund’s Best Friend?”

  1. Wish we would have heard where we could enter the deductions within the Turbo Tax menu for Service Animals that may help a little more than telling me they are deductable.

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