Certified Service Animal Tax Deduction

a couple walking their service dog

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2019 (taxes filed in 2020). 

If you’re asking yourself, “Can I claim my dog on my taxes?” the answer is sometimes.

When you require a service animal to support a physical or emotional condition, you may be able to deduct a portion of the expenses related to caring for the animal (who cares for you).

How do I deduct service animal expenses?

Service animals qualify as approved medical expenses and can be included in your itemized deductions 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 for my service animal?

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 is the tax deduction for service animals?

In order to write off your service animal as part of your unreimbursed medical expenses, you’ll need to itemize your deductions. And your total medical expenses, even those not related to a service animal, must be greater than 7.5% of your AGI for tax year 2019. The percent increases to 10% beginning in 2020.

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.

Can I claim my pet as a dependent?

No, your pet cannot be claimed as a dependent. The IRS has a list of requirements that explain who you can claim as a dependent, and animals just don’t meet those criteria.

How TaxSlayer Can Help

TaxSlayer helps make sure that you get the most out of your tax experience. Collect your medical expense receipts – including your service animal costs – and we’ll help you get your max refund.