The Happy Act!

As if having a pet wouldn’t be a happy enough act…now pet owners come a little closer to being happy about caring for their pets. H.R. 3501 was introduced to the House of Representatives on July 31, 2009. This act, more commonly known as The HAPPY Act – Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years - would allow an individual to deduct up to $3500 for qualified pet care expenses. Sign the petition to get this passed!
This is great news to me. I have been visiting the accountant and filing taxes since my first job at the age of 16. I have had dogs for all of that time as well. Every time I have visited the accountant and they ask about any deductions, I have always asked about Heidi, Max, Morby and Sandy – each of my dogs. The answer has always been the same – first there is the chuckle followed by, “You can’t deduct for pets”. This is always followed by my questioning, rhetorically, why I can’t. I take better care of my pups than most people take of their children.

Thanks to U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich), that conversation might go a little differently the next time around. The measure was introduced in response to two findings.
According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63 percent of United States households own a pet. 
The Human-Animal Bond has been shown to have positive effects upon people's emotional and physical well-being. 

According to the measure, any legally owned, domesticated, live animal is a qualified pet. This precludes research animals or animals owned or used in conjunction with a trade or business. Expenses associated with providing care to the pet qualify as deductions, including vet care. The only exclusion is any expense used to obtain the pet.

The effective date will apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009. I can’t wait to have that conversation with my accountant after that point. Hopefully when he asks me about any additional deductions I will be able to say “Yes!, My pups.”, and not have him chuckle at that.

Source: The Library of Congress

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