Ask taxpayers without children whether they support anyone, and the most common response?

“Does my dog count?”

The short answer is “no.” The technical answer is “no.” (That’s because you can’t legally claim your dog as a dependent. Ever.)

But, as with most tax questions, the real answer is, “it depends.” Many of us lavish our pets with high-quality food, too many toys, regular grooming, and lots of treats. Not to mention the cost of routine veterinary care and the occasional visit to the emergency vet. It all adds up to lots of (nondeductible) dollars.

Quick – what are the situations that turn those nondeductible dollars into tax deductions?

1 – Service and Assistance Dogs

Expenses for service and assistance dogs are deductible medical expenses. These dogs are performing tasks that mitigates the effect of a disability. Just because you feel calmer when you pet Sir Barks A Lot doesn’t put him into the service dog category. Guide dogs for the blind are the best-known service dogs. Other dogs (and some other animals) are trained for a range of assistance skills, mitigating the effects of disabilities, including blindness, mobility impairment, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The costs of training, purchasing, and maintaining service animals are part of medical expenses each year. Maintenance includes food, grooming, health care, and other supplies.

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