Can you claim animal expenses on your taxes?

Written by kaye morris
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Can you claim animal expenses on your taxes?
In specific cases, animal expenses are tax deductible. (tax forms image by Chad McDermott from

As of 2010, the Internal Revenue Service provided no tax relief for expenses related to household pets, but the uniform tax code does offer deductions for certain animal-related expenses. Most of the allowed deductions are animal expenses that are part of the cost of doing business, but one individual tax deduction is available for service animals.

Farming Operations

Farming operations, such as dairy farms or ranches that raise animals for food consumption can deduct all costs of acquiring, feeding and caring for animals used in the business. Animals used to produce products such as milk are considered assets of the business when purchased, and the original cost of the animal must be expensed over the useful life of the animal, as defined by the IRS. Livestock raised for food consumption is considered inventory, and the original cost of the animal, if purchased, is expensed at the time of sale.

Breeding Operations

Breeding operations are speciality businesses that choose the highest quality of a certain type of animal and breed the animals to produce high-end offspring for sale. The expenses to acquire, feed and care for animals used in a breeding operation are all deductible as operating expenses on the business tax return. Because animals held for breeding are considered assets, the original cost of the breeding stock must be expensed over the useful life of the animal as determined by the IRS. The IRS limits the number of years that a breeder can claim a loss for the breeding business on the tax filing in order to eliminate hobbyist from taking the deductions.

Pet-Related Businesses

If you are a veterinarian or own a business that is pet-related, such as pet boarding, pet sitting or pet grooming, the IRS allows you to deduct all expenses that are ordinary and necessary to your business operation. That includes pet treats, medications, shampoos, collars and any other items needed to conduct your normal business activities.

Service Animals

If you are visually or hearing-impaired or have other disabilities which benefit from the use of a service animal, such as a guide dog, you can include the cost of purchasing, training and caring for the animal with your other itemised deductions on Schedule A in the section for medical expenses. The deduction for medical expenses is limited as of 2010 to the amount over 7.5 per cent of your adjusted gross income.

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