Deducting non farm animals
Yes, you can deduct pet expenses you incur within your business. That does include claiming your cat for pest control. These claims must be within reason, trying to claim your Pomeranian as a vicious guard dog will certainly be questioned and more than likely denied by the IRS during an audit. First and foremost, you must establish that the animal is providing a service for your business. Having your Rottweiler or Pit Bull guard your business at night is a legitimate service just as having a cat to maintain a pest free environment at your cheese factory. However, claiming your cat Sylvester is guarding your yellow Tweety bird isn’t such a good idea. Writing off your pet Parrot whom you’ve trained to answer and greet your clients might be a stretch as well but at least it’s providing a service.
You absolutely need to keep detailed records of what your animal is doing. Keeping track of the number of hours the animal works each day as well as its down time is important. Does that mean you will need to train your guard dog or mouser cat to punch a time clock…. No but specialized training is deductible just be prepared to justify the cost and the service the animal is performing at your business. If your dog or pet has become a YouTube sensation and you decide to turn this hobby into a business, then keep detailed records.
When it comes to the IRS tax code it really all depends. We tell our clients all the time, that the IRS code is written in black ink on white paper but enforcement and interpretation can be quite grey. This is why you don’t hire a CPA to fill out a tax form, you hire a CPA to represent you and your recordkeeping to the IRS.
May the road ahead rise to meet you.
May the sunshine warm upon your face,
and until we meet again, may the IRS be off your back.
Gina Polk, CPA, RENE