Tax Deductions For Pets? The HAPPY Bill

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan has introduced a bill that would change the U.S. Tax Code by allowing a new itemized deduction: pet care.

The HAPPY Bill,  House Resolution 3501, is the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years Act. If would allow "qualified pet care expenses" for a "qualified pet" up to $3500 a year.

A qualified pet is defined by the bill as "a legally owned, domesticated, live animal."  The exceptions would be those owned in connection with a trade or business as well as those used for research.

Qualified pet care expenses would include 'amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care)..." The bill excludes money spent in acquiring the pet, but does not further specify what is meant by "care."  Is it "health care," or care that includes feeding, clothing, bedding, and toys for the pet?

A personal itemized deduction for pet care would be limited to $3500 per year.  For persons to be eligible to deduct their own health care expenses, they first would need to be eligible to itemize total expenses and second, they could only deduct the amount of out-of-pocket health care expenses that are more than 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income.

What do you pet owners think about this HAPPY bill? 


H.R. 3501 photo via


That's the buzz for today!


Aug 17, 2009
by Anonymous

Love it!!!

Love it. They need to pass this. I've spent at least a thousand on my dog when he was a puppy due to all the damage he's done!

Aug 25, 2009
by Anonymous

Follow Up Question

So specifically, what are the proposed qualified pet care expenses?

Aug 26, 2009
by Anonymous

I'm all for it!

I've seen vet bills quadruple in the past 15 or so years. An office visit and a couple vaccinations used to be 40 or 50 bucks. Today, you won't get out for under 120!
Had an emergency with my cat, two days of treatment, over a thousand bucks, and this wasn't even surgery!! I'm not sure where all this money is going, but I can't afford another emergency like that. I'd have to consider euthanasia and this is a three year old cat. Vet bills are part of the reason I no longer own a dog, and have given up my horses. Would love to have a dog again, but just can't risk the vet bills...

Oct 14, 2009
by Anonymous


As dog "parents" we love this idea. We are medically unable to have human children, and therefore are never going to be eligible for the child deduction. However, we do treat our pets as children, and see no reason that the thousands a year we spend to keep them hale and hearty should not qualify as tax deductible. Also, with the current state of the economy there are thousands of pet owners who are abandoning their pets due to inability to afford them. This would certainly give those owners an incentive to keep and care for their pets.

Oct 15, 2009
by Anonymous

My pooch pays ME? whats not to like?

Hey anything to get a financial break. Licensing, neutering, and feeding dont come cheap!

Oct 15, 2009
by Anonymous

The time has finally come

It may encourage a lot of people to buy better food & get the medical & grooming attention our pets need & deserve. I would do it anyway, because I feel lucky to have been chosen to care for my little guy. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

Oct 19, 2009
by Anonymous

I think this is another great way to complicate the tax system

Seriously, I have pets, but i don't think that they should be treated as if they are people, it's getting out of control, government needs to be downsized not grown. The tax system does not need more deductions and loopholes, it needs to be scrapped and replaced with the FairTax. If we get rid of the income tax, untax businesses, allow everyone to keep their paychecks, base deductions on family size, allow investments to grow untaxed, allow businesses to use excess funds to build their business instead of paying taxes, our economic problems would end very fast.

Oct 20, 2009
by Anonymous

idiotic poster above complaining about the tax system.

Lol we won't be able to simplify the tax code. Too many big corporations and congressmen have their hands to deeply entrenched in the code the way it is (find the exemptions on the cruise lines we go to a fair tax those exemptions go away, And that is just a small example trust me im a tax im an accountant I deal with the tax code everyday!). Obama has been in office less than a year and already tripled the complexity of the tax code! I cant believe that a deduction that would actually benefit everyday people would be something a pet owner would be against. Republican or Democrat alike if you own a pet it puts money back in your pocket! I am going to write my state rep. to vote for this bill! I have saltwater fish as well as 4 dogs. I am salivating over all the things I can deduct to get me to the 3500!

Oct 21, 2009
by Anonymous

Why is pet care an issue for congress

This bill does not put money in the right people's hands. It puts money into the hands of people who would spend it anyway. Congress should not care about pets, they should care about a ballooning budget and the well being of its citizens (the two legged kind) I love my dog but he does nothing to help this country.

Oct 23, 2009
by Anonymous

I agree!

I feel the same way as someone who has elected to have animals because the cost of a child is not attainable for me, nor do I want that intense of a responsibility.

We have lost 2 cats in 5 months to heart problems and our dog needed knee surgery a year ago that her insurance would not cover. What are you supposed to do if you have insurance to protect yourself financially and even they won't give you a break? We are now $6000 in vet debt in 15 months. The dog is limping again and the remaining cat is grooming himself down to bald patches. I can't put off going to the vet forever, but how am I going to pay for it?

People with kids get all kinds of breaks and yet I've heard that animals don't count because they are considered a luxury that you don't have to have. The last time I checked, there is something called birth control which makes having kids just as much of a luxurious choice as having a pet. I won't ever cost my employer more for my benefits because of having to pay for any children. I won't cause my employer to have to pay for a long-term substitute for a maternity leave. I'm not going to strain Social Security or Social Services by adding another person for the government to take care of.

So far, I'm saving a lot of people a lot of money by not having a child, all I want is just a little help with my "fur"babies since they don't qualify for human benefits. Let's even up the score for a change.

Nov 12, 2009
by Anonymous

I agree, give the pet parents a break!

I have kids and pets, and I'll take all the breaks I can. I am a first time home buyer this year too.... Belive me, my pets make me spend money. That money goes back into the economy. So to all you people who have a problem with this bill, GET OVER IT, and shut the hell up.