Lady with dog trying to figure out if she can claim her pets on her taxes - can you claim your pet on your taxes
Can You Claim Your Pet on Your Taxes?

Can You Claim Your Pet on Your Taxes?

With the rise of pet ownership over the last few years, everyone wants to know what the best tax benefits for pet owners are! If you love pets, you probably wonder, can you claim your pet on your taxes?

Dog Sitting on Pile of Money Maybe you wonder if you can claim your pet as dependents on your taxes or if there are any tax deductions for pet owners.

If you are a pet-loving enthusiast or just love animals, you likely want to know how to make the most of your pet ownership. In this article, we will try to answer all of the pet-related tax questions that are on your mind this year.

If you have further questions that go beyond the scope of this article, be sure to reach out to us. We are eager to help others in any way that falls into our area of expertise!

Can You Claim Your Pet as a Dependent on Your Taxes?

While you might be eager to claim your pets as dependents on your taxes, unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service does not recognize animals as dependents on tax returns. Of course, in your heart, you can keep them in that special spot; just forgo adding them to your taxes!

Who Can You Claim as a Dependent on Your Taxes?

Since you now know that you cannot claim your pets as dependents on your taxes this year, you might wonder who is eligible to be claimed as a dependent. As far as receiving tax breaks is concerned, it is understandable that you would wonder how to make this claim.

The Internal Revenue Service does make the eligibility of a dependent clear and easy on their website with the use of the Whom May I Claim as a Dependent? Tool. To use the tool, keep in mind that completing the use of the tool will take approximately fifteen minutes of your time.

You will need to have a few things available in order to use the tool properly. First, you will need to know the marital status and relationship to the dependent that you currently have. Also, you will want to have available the total amount of support you have provided to this person.

Second, you will need to know your basic income information. An example provided by the IRS for this type of information is your gross income figure. You will likely be able to obtain this number from your tax records or tax return if you have already begun to fill it out.

Finally, to use the tool in the proper way, just make sure you know the terms of any support agreement for the potential dependent if no single person provided more than half of the financial support for this individual.

For further reading on who you are able to claim as a dependent on your taxes this year, be sure to check out the following article we wrote – Tax Solutions: Your How-to Guide to Claiming Dependents this Tax Year.

The Best Tax Benefits for Pet Owners This Year

Pets can be wonderful blessings, but we are pretty sure that you already know that and did not adopt or foster your pet for the tax benefit! However, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your pet, you might be eligible for a tax benefit in regards to your pet!

Of course, these tax benefits do not apply in all cases, so it is always wise to seek counsel before taking any special tax breaks regarding pets or dependents, for that matter. Seeking the advice of a tax professional is a wise decision come tax time.

The right tax consultant can advise you on which tax credits and tax deductions you are eligible for. You might even discover further tax breaks you can take that you did not know about. Keep in mind that tax rules, regulations, and laws change nearly every year!

Tax Deductions for Fostering Pets

If you have been blessed to foster a pet from a qualified non-profit organization, you might be eligible for this tax deduction. This would count toward your charitable contributions on your annual tax return.

This would not count for the care of the pet of a friend or a stray cat or dog you found wandering around outside while you were out for your evening stroll. Sadly, the only eligible animals for this tax deduction would be those that came from a non-profit.

Volunteers at Animal Shelter If you are a volunteer at an animal shelter, the expenses that you incur to drive to work or care for animals as part of your volunteer job could be deductible. You might be in doubt as to whether you can take this deduction or not. If so, please contact our office!

Learn more about How to Maximize Your Charitable Deductions this Year.

Tax Deductions for Service Animals

If you are eligible and use a service animal for a medical condition, you might be able to deduct your expenses as medical expenses. If you wish to qualify for this tax deduction, your eligible expenses must exceed 7.5% of your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income).

Tax Deductions for Working or Performance Animals

Perhaps your special cat, dog, or other animal works in the acting or modeling industry. Maybe they perform at shows or something special like that. Of course, if you are in doubt as to whether this applies to you, seek the advice of a tax expert!

If your cat or dog provides a service for your business, they might be eligible for a business tax deduction. The expenses or costs relating to your business must be ordinary and necessary to keep your business going, though.

For any tax deduction, be sure to keep accurate records and all of your pet-related receipts, especially if the tax deduction you wish to take relates to an animal. Animals are not a typical tax deduction, so seek the recommended counsel before filing!


If you would like to learn more about tax deductions, we recommend you check out the article we wrote on the subject – Tax Deductions: How to Save on Your Tax Return. Of course, if you have further tax-related questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our office.

It is always best to seek the advice of a tax expert when trying to take special tax deductions on your annual tax return. Our office has Indiana’s tax expert Sherry Borshoff! Find out how we can best help you and your specific tax situation today!


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