Thaddeus McCotter has introduced a bill into The House of Representatives , HR 3501 – ‘Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act to amend the IRS Tax Code of 1986 to allow for deduction of up to $3,500 for pet care expenses. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3501.IH: It has been referred to the Commitee on Ways and Means.
According to the bill, Congress has found 1. according to 2007-08 National Pet Owners Survey, 63% of US households own a pet and 2. Human-Animal bond has been shown to have a positive effect upon people’s emotional and physical well-being.
Caring for a pet can be very expensive. It can easily cost as much to take an pet to the vet for a checkup or illness as it does for a human being to go to the doctor. Spaying and neutering isn’t cheap, either – hence the population of unwanted and or abused animals continues to expand unchecked. The bill states that the maximum deduction for a taxable year is not to exceed $3,500.
I salute Mr. McCotter for his introduction of this bill but it seems a bit too vague. I feel the amount is too high – and is this per animal or per household. Is it an across the board deduction, such as claiming a child as a dependent, or do receipts need to be retained to prove that a pet is actually owned and cared for. Without some kind of checks in place, how many people who care nothing at all for animals will run out and get one simply to try to take advantage of the tax break…I don’t want to see Fido not taken care of beyond what is required to keep him alive as a tax deduction.
The bill states “The term `qualified pet’ means a legally owned, domesticated, live animal.” So does this include fish, rodents, snakes, birds, turtles, spiders etc.?
With nothing more than shown in the bill as introduced, it seems to me this is something wide open for abuse. My opinion is that because so many people do own pets and those pets are NOT just animals – they are a part of a family – some kind of break for their care is long overdue.
The bill may never become reality, but some form of it could be a very good thing.
Here’s a link to where current 224 would be ammended to be 225 and the pet bill, if passed, inserted after current 223……… http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/26/A/1/B/VIIo