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Action Alert: Proposed Tax Deductions For Pet Expenses H.R. 3501


Pet parents, our tax day may be just around the corner! Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) has introduced H.R. 3501, the“Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years” (HAPPY) Act, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a deduction for pet care expenses.

Current Status: Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives

Date Introduced: 7/31/2009

What is it? How much can I deduct?

    (a) Allowance of Deduction- In the case of an individual, there shall be allowed as a deduction for the taxable year an amount equal to the qualified pet care expenses of the taxpayer during the taxable year for any qualified pet of the taxpayer.
    (b) Maximum Deduction- The amount allowable as a deduction under subsection (a) to the taxpayer for any taxable year shall not exceed $3,500.

What is a “qualified pet care expense?”

For purposes of this section, the term `qualified pet care expenses’ means amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet.

Who/What are the qualified pets?

The term `qualified pet’ means a legally owned, domesticated, live animal.

What are the exceptions?

Such term does not include any animal–

(A) used for research or owned or utilized in conjunction with a trade or business, or

(B) with respect to which the taxpayer has claimed a deduction under section 162 (ordinary and necessary expenses) or 213 (diagnostic and similar procedures, medical devices and other medical expenses not covered by insurance) in any of the preceding 3 taxable years.

When would this go into effect?

The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009.

Why is this a good thing?

The proposed amendment is a step in the right direction because it validates the financial obligation required of the pet owner while attempting to alleviate some of the burden of the expenses.

We’ve seen far too many animals abandoned, left to starve, and mistreated as the painful sear of the nation’s economic struggle makes its mark on the flesh of the innocent companions who share our lives.  Many households have felt compelled to choose between feeding their pet or buying groceries for the human counterparts. Many pets have had the short stick drawn for them when it comes to that choice. People are struggling to feed their pets, much less provide adequate pet care for them.

What can you do?

Contact your representatives and let them know you would like them to support the legislation. A simple call or email will suffice. Need some help locating your officials? Need some help writing your congressional representative a letter?

What do you think? Let us know what feedback you’ve received from your local representatives when you contact them.

We’ll keep you posted with any updates.

Photo Credit: YM

2 thoughts on “Action Alert: Proposed Tax Deductions For Pet Expenses H.R. 3501

  1. This is a sad idea. Pets are a luxury and should be treated as such. There’s a lot of people maxed out on credit cards and facing foreclosure but still keeping pets what gives?

  2. We don’t see pets as “luxuries” that are, or should be, reserved for a specific demographic based on income or otherwise. We see pets as companion animals with whom we share our lives. You know how people say having a driver’s license is not a “right” but a privilege? That is how we feel about sharing our lives with a companion animal, it is a privilege, and one that should never be taken lightly or for granted.

    Even if you truly believe that animals are “luxuries” then you’re argument is flawed that they shouldn’t be eligible for a tax credit. True “luxuries” like yachts, private jets, and the like are used as tax breaks.

    Yes, thanks to the rate of unemployment and foreclosures many companion animals are finding themselves being turned over to animal shelters and rescues where they await a new family. Sometimes that family doesn’t come. Sometimes these once beloved animals are euthanized due to lack of space, funds, and people. Knowing this, how in the world could you argue that helping offset some of the burden responsible pet owners shoulder is “a sad idea?”

    Helping companion animals stay in their homes helps keep your taxes down (no tax increases for larger animal control facilities and related staff), animals off the street (some people will just dump an animal on the side of the road), keep animal shelters viable (there is a limited amount of space), and people healthier and happier (the emotional ties one has to a pet provides innumerable psychological and physical benefits).

    We believe the “Happy Act” can be one more tool to help keep companion animals in their homes and keep them healthy. This proposed legislation validates the financial obligation required of pet owners and thereby, stresses the lifetime commitment one makes when bringing a companion animal into the family.

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