It is tax season and for dog owners that might mean it’s time to consider any pet tax deductions  (legitimate ones, of course) that our four-legged friends can bring our way.  As most of us are more than aware of, caring for a dog isn’t exactly cheap.

You can cut corners here and there, sure, but when it comes to actually providing good care for our pets we can’t take too many fiscal shortcuts.

According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners from the United States spent a total of $53 billion last year alone. That’s a lot of squeeze toys!

Individually, the average cost of raising a smaller breed of dog sits at about $1,314 a year. Caring for a larger dog runs an average of $1,843 a year.

There are many of us who go well over the average, though, and can attest to spending thousands of dollars on our pooches and pals.

The average costs associated with dog care includes food, pet insurance, preventative veterinary care, and grooming.

There was an attempt some time ago to give pet owners a break through a bill called the Humanity and Pets Partnered through the Years (or HAPPY) that would’ve given us a $3,500 deduction each year.

That bill didn’t pass, but there are some other options for pet owners to get a bit of a break on their taxes.

Before you make any deductions or claims, make sure you have all the documentation you need. If you’re not sure, don’t do it. The IRS can be a pain in the you-know-what.

Service Dogs or Guard Dogs

If you or your dependent uses a service dog, like a seeing-eye dog for instance, you can deduct training, buying and care costs for the dog. These fall under medical expense deductions.

If you use a guard dog at your workplace, you can write off your care and food expenses. Make sure that you use a traditional breed of dog for this purpose, though, as most IRS auditors tend to raise a few eyebrows at the idea of a guard Pekingese.

Adoption and Foster Care

If you’ve adopted a dog, you can deduct the cost of any donation you made to adopt said dog. There are generally fees associated with adopting a dog that include any shots or the cost of spaying or neutering the pet.

If you’ve fostered a dog to animal shelters or rescue groups, you can deduct vet bills, boarding costs, food costs, medication costs, toy costs, and other associated costs.

Other Possibilities

There are a number of other potential deductions you can make, like if you’re a breeder or have a dog in show business for instance, but it’s best to check with an accountant for these purposes. Always be sure to cover your bases before you start making pet deductions,  as you don’t want the IRS breathing down your neck.

Proceed with caution when claiming kind of pet tax deductions.

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