Tax write off that people may not be aware of!

by Sue on April 3, 2012

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The IRS allows deductions for expenses of caring for a service dog. This includes all expenses from feeding and vet bills, to training and equipment.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_publink1000178936

It is listed under Guide Dogs and other Service Animal.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jewel Jade 04.04.12 at 2:51 pm

Yes! I love that the IRS does this! It’s very expensive to care properly for a service dog! Thanks for posting this!

2 Cooke 04.04.12 at 3:58 pm

Yes this an interesting deduction. I am surprised that there is little talk about a National Certification program (except if you follow my posts!) when Uncle Sam is giving you money back for your service dog. What stops anyone from taking this deduction. How can the IRS prove or disprove you need the service animal or it is properly trained? Don’t get me wrong, I have a service dog, and support those that need them, but another reason that I would support a National Certification Program!

3 sussie 04.05.12 at 3:45 pm

All the IRS needs to do is ask for the letter from the doctor stating that you need the service dog. Keep in mind that ADA does not require certification, nor will they in the near future, according to them. Here is what the ADA states about certification…

ADA will not impose any type of formal training requirements, registration or certification process. While some groups have urged the Department to modify this position, the Department has determined that such a modification would not serve the full array of individuals with disabilities who use service animals, since individuals with disabilities may be capable of training, and some have trained, their service animal to perform tasks or do work to accommodate their disability. A training, registration or certification requirement would increase the expense of acquiring a service animal and might limit access to service animals. Especially those individuals with limited financial resources.

4 Cooke Osborn 04.05.12 at 6:34 pm

I would love to say that a doctors note would solve the problem, but that’s as easy to forge as my moms signature when school sent home an unpleasant note! I agree that there could be problems with it, but I think there has to be a better way. This wasn’t as much of a problem till we started seeing therapy dogs. Again I think there are definitely cases were a therapy dog is helpful, but makes it too easy for people to take advantage.

5 Allison 04.09.12 at 8:29 am

Are ESA’s covered by the deduction?

6 Dave and Gracie 04.09.12 at 9:38 am

Hi Sussie, You did it again! You helped enlighten our group about an important aspect of “Service Dogs”! “Service Dogs” are NOT “Pets”! “Service Dogs” are trained to do work to help People with Disabilities! The care, trainig, feedng and lodging of a “Service Dog” is a “Medical Expense”. That expense is, therefore, deductible as an itemized deduction on your 1040, subject to the 7.5% above AGI limitation. Fellow bloggers: Consult your Tax Advisor regarding this deduction…AND…Please stop beating each other up about the Validity of our “Service Dogs” as a very real Medical Necessity! There is fraud, cheating, purposful mis-representation of facts and downright crooked behavior in every sector of society! BE HONEST..ENJOY THE MANY BENEFITS THAT YOUR “SERVICE DOG” CAN BRING TO YOUR LIFE!! Leave the ‘value judgements’ and the pseudo-Police Work to the “CELLAR-DWELLERS”!

7 Linda 04.09.12 at 10:43 am

A true “therapy dog” does not fall under service dogs laws and when you take your dog through the real testing and certification program you are taught the difference and know the laws.
A “real” therapy dog has to be certified unlike a service dog. There are just as many issues in that area as the service dog area, and certification has not helped cure it in the least.
I have had a certified therapy dog, he took the test, had the appropriate ID etc. and we were taught the laws and the difference. I now use a service dog and know the laws there as well.
While you have your opinion, I am going to disagree. I don’t think that certification would change anything; it has not stopped any of the issues of people passing off fake therapy dogs as having the same rights as service dogs.
I believed education of the public is key. I had my service dog in a National Park visitor center and the ranger was talking to me, telling me how much better behaved my dog was than the last “service” dog. In the course of the conversation he switched between therapy and service dog as he talked. I asked some questions. Seems that dog had a vest that said therapy dog, but the owner was saying service dog/therapy dog etc. I explained the difference in the jobs of the dogs and the law. His comment was he now suspected that the other dog was not really a service dog and should not have been allowed in and had wished he had known the difference before.
Again, education is the key, not certification. That dog could have been a certified therapy dog and still should have not been in there.
I have trained my own dogs, do not support certification efforts, and I have also taken a dog out of service that no longer meet the law due to personality issues that cropped up over time. We can be our own biggest help or hindrance. I was in a restaurant one time when they comment that at least I would not be putting my service dog in the table to eat from a plate (mine is 120 pound and could never fit on the table) like the other person that comes in with a service dog does. I was not even sure what to say since I was shocked that someone would do that with a service dog.

8 Bill McNichoilas 04.09.12 at 11:48 am

I have a service dog prescribed by the VA and certified thru training, and a vet, and I have been taking deductions on taxes for my dog. My tax attorney, a very straight laced by the book, has copies of all of the documents on file. I have expereinced no problems with this. Also, I live in a county where tags are provided to service dogs with the documentation. Another document to substantiate if questioned.

9 sussie 04.18.12 at 5:41 pm

I seriously doubt that a person is going to do to all the trouble of creating a Doctor’s letter head and stealing a Doctor’s license number, not to mention the possible felony charges for impersonating a physician, just to create a letter from a doctor to pass their dog off as a service dog.

Also keep in mind that a Therapy Dog is NOT a service dog NOR an Emotional Support Animal.

10 sussie 04.18.12 at 5:42 pm

No. ESA’s are not Service Dogs.

11 sussie 04.18.12 at 5:44 pm

Yeah. I loved it! Gunny had over $12,000 in medical bills last year due to the four surgeries and the acupuncture. That was a nice deduction for me.

OH OH! I just remembered that I cold have deducted Lucy’s surgery too! Oh well…too late now. LOL

12 Maran 05.01.12 at 5:49 am

Ww may have talked to the same lady. This wkeeend there was a Pet Expo here in Colorado and a new customer was telling us the story how she was pulled over by an attachment which connects to the seat. What makes the Bike-a-Buddy different is a low attachment on both sides of the bicycle. We also designed a spring system which allows the dog to pull. There are times where a distraction ie. squirrel other dog runs across our path but as long as we are moving forward the dog’s momentum keeps them moving with the bike. If you get a chance to watch our videos online (afitdog.com) watch how Buddy the dogs pulls. It doesn’t get much worse than that.Thanks again,Terry

13 Jessica 01.30.13 at 2:55 pm

I have a few questions about how a dog qualifies as a service dog. I have been handicapped since my teen years, and have trained both of the dogs, that I used as service dogs myself. They dog that I currently have helps me with balance and mobility issues, especially going up and down the stairs. She was specifically adopted and trained to be used as a service animal unlike my other pets, but since I trained her myself she doesn’t have any documentation. Would I still be able to take off her medical expenses? Would I need a doctors letter I never discussed her with my doctors, having a service dog has just always been part of my care routine.

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