Are Pet Expenses Tax Deductible?



Are pet expenses tax deductible?I’ve posted in the past about tax deductible moving expenses. The post discusses which incurred costs are deductible if you move for work related reasons. For example, if specific requirements regarding timing, distance moved and length of employment are met, certain travel expenses, household goods transportation, storage, and utility set up fees may be eligible for deduction on your tax return. If I am being totally honest though, I never considered whether or not pet fees could be deducted. Last week, a colleague of mine sent over an article that answered the question I didn’t even know I had: “Are pet expenses tax deductible?”

The short answer is “maybe.” There are six instances in which your pet expenses may be tax deductible including:

• You require a pet for medical reasons
• Your business uses a guard dog for protection
• You foster pets on a temporary basis
• You move for work
• Pets are your job ie: professional breeder
• You are a dog handler for law enforcement

I’m going to focus on point number four today, but if you meet any of the other criteria check out this article from SmartAsset.

If you are moving for work, and your move meets the time and distance requirements (The new workplace is at least 50 miles further from your old home than your old job location was from your old home AND you work at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months immediately following your arrival in your new home), you may be able to deduct some pet related fees incurred during the move process.

Let’s not get crazy here though. If your pet travels in the car with you, his or her food expenses aren’t eligible for a tax deduction – you would feed your pet regardless of a move or not (I hope!). However, if your move is long distance and your pet needs to travel by air, sea, or rail, the cost of shipping your furry friend is eligible.

When it comes to moving and tax deductions, it’s important that you keep track of every expense. Hold on to receipts and better yet, categorize them. If you are unsure whether or not your move meets the IRS requirements for tax deductions, talk to your move coordinator and ask him or her to explain the criteria. It is always worth it to ask questions, especially if the answers could land you a higher tax return!