Emotional Support Animal Tax Deduction

a couple walking their service dog

For generations, dogs have been affectionately referred to as man’s best friend. Over time, we’ve learned to train these pets to aid us with certain medical conditions like blindness. Recently, the notion of service animals has expanded and Americans have found new ways that animals can support them.

Not only do service animals give aid to those in need, but they can also bring financial support. If you require a service animal to support a physical or emotional condition, there are tax deductions that you might be able to take advantage of. So if you’re asking yourself “Can I claim my dog on my taxes?”, the answer is sometimes.

You can’t claim your pets as dependents, although many pet owners consider them to be their “kids.” But expenses for certified service animals can be deducted.

How Does it Work?

Service animals qualify as approved medical expenses and therefore can be itemized on Schedule A on form 1040. As you gather up all the receipts for animal-related expenses, make sure to locate any documentation qualifying the pet as a service animal. You’ll also need any documentation from your physician that outlines how the service animal improves symptoms of your condition.

As long as you can prove the animal provides support for a condition that you suffer from, then you qualify to deduct costs related to that service animal.

Which Expenses Can I Deduct?

Any expenses that directly benefit the animal, that you wouldn’t purchase otherwise, can be deducted. This includes the purchasing of the pet, necessary training, food expenses, and veterinary fees. You can even deduct for grooming expenses.

How Much Can I Deduct?

The first things to realize is that the standard deduction nearly doubled for tax year 2018 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This means that it may be more beneficial for you to take the standard deduction, as opposed to itemizing your deductions. Gather records of all purchases for the service animal and include them in your total deductions to determine which option is more advantageous to you.

If you decide to itemize, the only other thing you need to know is that in order to list medical expenses, they must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). This means all medical expenses, even those not related to a service animal, must be greater than 7.5% of your AGI.

In terms of pet-related expenses, the IRS states that “the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal” are deductible.

How TaxSlayer Can Help

By using our suite of products and leveraging our thousands of certified tax professionals, TaxSlayer’s intuitive tax filing platform will help make sure that you get the most out of your tax experience. There’s no such thing as an emotional support animal tax deduction, but bring us receipts and we’ll help you get your maximum refund and give you yet another reason to love your service animals.