How would you feel if pet care expenses were tax deductible? Would you feel like you could be a more responsible pet owner? Maybe people wouldn’t feel like they have to give up their pets because they lost their job. According to The Michigan Messenger, U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter introduced legislation on July 31, which proposes to make pet expenses tax deductible. You might be able to schedule that much needed veterinarian appointment sooner than you think.
In order for this legislation to work, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 will need to be amended to allow for such a change. The legislation is cited as the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act. The act references that from 2007-2008, 63 percent of American households owned a pet, and pets have a positive impact on people.
The maximum deduction is $3,500, and qualified pet care expenses are defined as the following: “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.” A qualified pet is defined as, “a legally owned, domesticated, live animal.” Exceptions to the act would be animals used for research or those used for trade or business. For now, H.R. 3501 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), a trade association that represents the pet industry and animal issues, is supporting this new legislation. The PIJAC has been involved in the pet industry for 40 years, and they keep up to date on all government affairs relating to animals including aquatic life, birds, dogs, cats, reptiles and amphibians and small mammals.
Although the HAPPY Act could provide some relief for pet owners, it’s peculiar that the individual presenting this bill is opposed to national health care reform. Making health care more available for pets and people seems like an issue that would go hand in hand, so it’s questionable why there is such a disconnect here.
If the bill ends up being passed, the effective date would apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009. To check on the status of this legislation, go to the Library of Congress for updates.