Pet Tax Deductions: Can You Write Off Your Cat?
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Pet Tax Deductions: Can You Write Off Your Cat?

Est. read time: 3 min.

With Tax Day looming, many of us are scrambling to find ways to add a few extra dollars to our returns. Maybe you’ve never considered pet tax deductions, but we’re here to inform you that such savings exist! Being a cat parent or an animal lover in general pays off. Check out if you fall into one of the categories below.

Foster Pet Care Expenses

If you’ve opened your heart and home to animals during their transition to being adopted, you may be eligible for tax deductions for charitable contributions. The catch is, you must be fostering for a qualified nonprofit (classified as a 501(c)(3) organization), and you can only deduct unreimbursed expenses. Pet food, supplies, and veterinary bills that you’ve paid for out of pocket that were not reimbursed by the nonprofit are deductible under Schedule A as charitable donations.

Direct Donations

And speaking of charitable contributions, don’t forget to deduct any direct donations you made to a shelter, charity, or rescue group. These should also be itemized under the charity section of Schedule A.

Volunteer Work Mileage

Volunteering your time to serve animals is a reward in and of itself. Keep track of your mileage if your volunteer work is helping to further a shelter or pet rescue organization, as this may be deductible at 14 cents per mile. Again, the organization must be classified as a nonprofit 501(c)(3).

Moving Expenses

Moving is always a stressful endeavor, let alone moving a great distance with a pet. If you’re forced to move due to work, you can deduct costs associated with relocating your pet to your new home. A few requirements exist in order to be eligible to deduct moving expenses, such as your new workplace being at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old workplace was. Because the write-off for moving expenses is an above-the-line deduction, you don’t have to itemize the costs associated with the move. This could be a big help toward helping pay for relocating your cat, dog, or other pets! Update: You may need to be a member of the military to take advantage of this deduction. Check with your tax preparer for more information.

Pest Control

In an ideal world, every cat would live a happy, safe life indoors as a member of the family. In reality, we know that some kitties prefer living outdoors, and can even serve as an efficient means of pest control. If your cat (feral or not) keeps your business property free of mice, rats, and other vermin, you may be able to deduct the cost of pet food as a business expense. However, be ready to convince the IRS that your “working pet” is necessary, appropriate, and not uncommon to the trade or business.

Pet Trusts

Ensuring the continued care of your furry loved ones even after you’re gone is becoming more common in the form of a pet trust. (In fact, all 50 states now have legislation in place!) There are also some tax advantages to having a pet trust. The pet owner can structure certain types of pet trusts so that he or she can make annual tax-free gifts up to a yearly limit. However, it’s recommended that you work with an attorney who specializes in this type of estate planning before making your final wishes legal.

Who knew so many pet tax deductions exist? With all those leftover savings, you might even want to invest in a self-cleaning litter box! (Wink, wink.)


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