Animals are our friends: loyal, kind and trustworthy members of our families. They always offer endless affection which is why one day we decide to pet them, and keep them close to our hearts. However, animals are not always for petting, love and friendliness, they can also work and provide certain services! Yes, people are not the only creatures who work and put their efforts into something, sometimes animals do that too!
Today, we will be talking about service animals and all the pet-related expenses that you can easily write off. But let’s clarify a few points right off the bat! For example, do you know which animals are considered as “service animals”? According to the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA) “Service animals are working animals, not pets,” so even if you have a pet, don’t think about it as a service animal, they’re different. Service animals are described as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities,” and what’s more, you can sometimes deduct the expenses that are related to them and their work.
Is My Dog a Service Animal?
There are certain factors that you should consider prior to claiming deductions. But before that, let’s talk about the tasks that service animals usually do for their owners. According to the ADA, “Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.”
Now let’s get back to the actual topic!
As we said, there are certain things that you should take into account before talking about deductions: motive, diagnose, history, effectiveness.
First of all, you should be able to prove that you had a certain motive when getting a service animal for you. You just can’t take an animal, and tell everyone that they help you with some kind of tasks. It’s pretty logical that without the motive (and diagnose (but we’ll get to that later)) no one would agree to write off all the service animal-related expenses, maybe you just don’t want to spend your money on your pet, who knows?
What is a service animal without a diagnosed patient? And yes, they see you as their patient! If your doctor, therapist or psychiatrist suggested you to have a service animal to cure your anxiety, or help you cross the street, it’s more than enough for deducting expenses.
To back up your request, you can always talk about the efficiency of having a service animal. If there’s any history that proves that your medical condition can be cured with the help of a dog, include that! IRS loves documentations, paperwork and form-filing, so go ahead and include the information you have.
Even though you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you should show the IRS that you already have a significant improvement. To what extend your service animal helped you overcome your anxiety, or any other disease? IRS doesn’t need percentage or accurate numbers, just give them a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Show them that your dog helped you get into shape, that keeping a dog (a service animal) is necessary for you to feel secure, and safe and sound.
So, if you’re one of those people who have a service animal and spend their money on their food, grooming, training, vet bills and so forth, you can deduct your expenses and enjoy the presence of your emergency-pets! Now go ahead, and work on the documentation; deduction is just around the corner!