Pets as Tax Dependents? A Look at the Money We Spend on our Pets

Today is April 17, 2012 – otherwise known as the tax deadline.  Now I’m lucky because puppies don’t have to file taxes.  But my Mommy & Daddy do.  They were on top of it
and got their taxes done early, but a lot of people I hear wait until today to file their taxes.  I’d probably wait until today too if I had to file taxes.  It doesn’t sound like fun so I would put it off as long as I could!

A lot of people think they should be able to claim their pets on their taxes as dependents.  In fact, there is a proposed tax bill that would allow people to claim their personal pets as dependents on their taxes. It’s called the “Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years” or the HAPPY Act.  This bill hasn’t gotten much support since Michigan Representative Thaddeus McCotter, as well as representatives from Tennessee and Colorado, introduced the bill in 2009.  HAPPY would allow deductions of up to $3,500 a year for pet expenses.  While groups still push for the passing of the Act, it doesn’t look very promising just yet.

But considering how much the average American spends on their pet, a $3,500 deduction would be a great help to all the pet parents out there.  It is estimated that over $52 billion will be spent by Americans on their pets this year.  Last year Americans spent just shy of $51 billion on their pets.  In 2011, Americans spend $19.85 billion on pet food, $11.77 billion on pet supplies and over the counter medications for their pups and kitties, and $13.41 billion on veterinary care.  In my opinion, that definitely deserves a tax break (and don’t think I’m biased because I’m a pup!)

So how much does it cost per year to be a pet parent?  Well, according to the 2011-2012 APAA National Pet Owners Survey, the average annual expenses for a dog or cat owner include:

Expense Dog Cat
Surgical Vet Visits $407 $425
Routine Vet Visits $248 $219
Food $254 $220
Kennel/Boarding $274 $166
Vitamins $95 $43
Travel Expenses $78 $48
Groomer/Grooming Tools $73 $34
Treats $70 $41
Toys $43 $21

 

And of course, this varies depending on the pet, pet owner, and the amount of pets in the household.  So, Maizee says give pet parents a break and let them claim us as dependents!  But nonetheless, pet parents work hard to keep us safe, healthy and happy and we greatly appreciate it!

Thanks Mom & Dad!
XO,
Maizee