Jan Van Dusen, a self-described “cat lady,” from Oakland, CA, won a Tax Court June 2011 decision against the IRS that broadened the scope for deducting animals on tax returns. Van Dusen had taken a charitable deduction for un-reimbursed expenses for the care of feral cats for a nonprofit group. The IRS rejected the deduction, and the Tax Court sided with Van Dusen. The IRS has about three more months to appeal.
Below describe some other ways to claim deductions for your pets:
• Estate expenses. The cost of maintaining a pet while an estate is being settled may be deductible if the animal has monetary value e.g. purebred dog. The expenses also may qualify if the animal provides security for property.
• Business expenses. The costs of acquiring and maintaining animals used in a business may be deductible as long as the company can show they are “ordinary and necessary” costs of doing business. e.g. a guard dog or a cat that keeps rats in check.
• Moving expenses. Expenses related to relocation for employment may include the cost of moving a pet. See IRS Publication 521 (2010).
• Service animals. The cost of acquiring or caring for a service animal such as a guide dog or hearing cat is eligible for a medical deduction.