2001-Tue Dec 06 15:13:09 EST 2016
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
You may have heard that you can claim a tax deduction for your
service dog, and you'd be correct! Here's what the IRS has to say:
"You can include in medical expenses the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities. In general, this includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality of the service animal so that it may perform its duties."
(Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses)
Of course, it's never that easy, is it? What about a
seizure-alert dog or
emotional support animals or a service dog for
someone with autism? We reached out to Alison Flores, principal tax research analyst at
H&R Block, for answers.
In general, you may be able to write off expenses for a service animal who is specially trained to alleviate or cure your medical condition.
Guide dogs for the blind are an obvious example. So are
service animals for the hearing impaired, who alert their humans when the doorbell rings or the oven timer goes off.
But here's an example of a dog who would not qualify for a deduction: the pet dog of a family with an autistic child. Even if the
dog spends time with the child and seems to calm him down, the IRS would not consider this dog a deductible service animal because she isn't certified to alleviate that medical condition. The way the math works is that having a medical condition plus having a pet does not equal a deductible animal. So what is the equation missing? Training and certification. The golden rule is that you need to be able to prove a close tie between the medical condition and what the trained animal does to alleviate it.
For the most part, it's pretty clear that you can write off a service animal you acquire who comes certified to perform a certain task. But what if you already have a pet and that animal begins to detect your seizures or
low blood sugar?
"If the pet just randomly starts providing a service, I'd be a little hesitant to allow you to deduct that," Flores says. "If you had a pet and it was the type of pet that was conducive to a certain training, and you sent the pet off for training, and it came back certified in whatever is useful for your specific condition, now that may work out."
Then, Flores says, you could deduct the cost of that training, and, moving forward, the cost of care for the animal. "But again, you'd have to be able to show the connection between your medical condition and the aptitude of that animal for helping you with it."
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
Christmas trees, fatty foods and other
seasonal items may bring cheer to your
home, but they'll cause harm to your…
Dr. Sarah Wooten takes a closer look at
this curious sleeping habit and what it has
to do with canines’ ancestry.
The Kromfohrlander is said to be
descended from a mixed-breed dog
who was a mascot for American troops.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.