Agility Training for Service Dog Tax Deductible?
Hi, I haven't been on the formum in a couple years. I have a Doberman, Roxie, who is now classified as an emotional support dog by my MS specialist (I have multiple sclerosis).
Our history - I rescued Roxie when she was 5 months old. Because of MS, I stopped working as a pharmacist. My husband took an overseas job in Indonesia, I had Roxie shipped there July of 2015. After 6 months, the husband wants a divorce, so my two sons and I move back to the states December 2015. There was a custody battle over Roxie, and she was finally shipped back to me (parasites and all!) May 2016. I live in an apartment which bans aggressive breeds like Dobermans. So, I had my MS doctor classify her as an emotional support dog.
I am receiving alimony, and have a very part-time job which will pay the taxes on alimony. For those not familiar with MS, the heat brings out my latent MS symptoms such as blurry vision, numbness, dizziness, balance issues, speaking issues, cognitive slowing, etc. Because of the very hot summer in Southern CA, I did not sign up for Roxie's agility...despite the AC in the facility, I feel like I am a klutz, and have even tripped and fallen while running the course. We are in the pre-competition phase of agility.
I just found out from my accountant that Roxie, classified as a service dog, is a TAX WRITE OFF. The accountant said food and vet bills are deductible, but did not think agility would be deductible. HOWEVER, without the agility training, she goes a bit bonkers and starts to lick herself to the point of bleeding. (Also trying to figure out what she is allergic to, besides wheat.)
Does anybody know if training of a service dog is a TAX DEDUCTIBLE....I think the obedience training would be, but what about agility or other 'fun' activities that wouldn't be related to being a service dog?
Anything Pawsable, a website for service dogs states:
"We’ve been asked several times if you can deduct the cost of owning a Service Dog from your taxes. The answer is: yes! You can include in medical expenses the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, psychiatric or other physical disabilities.
In general, you may deduct the cost of owning a Service Dog from your taxes. This includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality your Service Dog so that it may perform its duties. While the IRS website states you can deduct the costs for Service Dogs that help with physical disabilities, Psychiatric Service Dogs which are specifically trained to complete tasks that assist with mental health disabilities are also covered (with several addendums). However as with any deduction, you should be well prepared to back up your claim. For more information, please view this on the IRS.gov website.”
The IRS gov website says basically the same thing.
Seems like agility that is necessary to maintain her health and vitality would be deductible--if she were classified as a Service Dog (medical). Maybe you would need a note from your vet stating that she needs more training/work to keep her from creating lick granulomas you could deduct it, especially if she has to see a vet for treatment or diagnosing of the problem. Keep every bit of paperwork you can--bills, assessments, training/certification costs, etc...so you justify your case.
This website goes into a good bit of detail about whether you can consider your dog a service dog. Basically it seems that if you can prove your dog has had training to perform its task or has some kind of certification, it can be tax deductible.
BUT I am not a Tax Accountant
I would go with what your accountant says. Since she loves it you should continue agility training for her as your hobby.
From what Melbrod posted, the real question would be whether your dog is an Emotional Support Animal or a service dog. This give more information. https://adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet As does this. https://goo.gl/images/hNTDNT Note, though, that there is NO requirement for certification for service dogs in the US.
Can Your Service Dog Fetch You a Tax Refund?
That would be nice, but it is too expensive, and until I feel better MS-wise, I'm not going to waste the $$$.
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