Skip to main content

How to Claim Your Foster Pet on Your Taxes

That’s right, you can write off all those puppy toys (and pee pads).

by Avery Felman
March 23, 2022
A man sitting on the floor with his arm around a dog while working on his laptop.
MaaHoo Studio / Stocksy
The letter "W" from the Wildest logo

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

See our privacy statement to find out how we collect and use your data, to contact us with privacy questions or to exercise your personal data rights.

If you adopted or fostered a pet this year, let me congratulate you on your altruism...and for being a savvy taxpayer. Not only have you clocked many hours caring for and fawning over that adorable pet, but those heart-melting eyes are also a tax write-off. According to the IRS, if the fostering program is through a legit section 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you may be able to deduct unreimbursed veterinary care and pet supplies from your tax return.

Although adoption fees are not considered a charitable contribution, any additional amount paid in excess of those fees may be deductible unless they’re considered payment for goods and services like a pet bed or neutering. Since only part of your pet’s fees may be deductible, you should ask the shelter for an itemized receipt so you can accurately account for the sum of your reimbursable expenses.

Luckily for those who foster, there’s no shortage of eligible deductions, a shortlist of which includes food, medicines, veterinary bills, crates, cleaning supplies, and even a portion of the utility bill if a section of the home is dedicated to caring for fosters. However, as most taxpayers already know, proper record-keeping is essential for ensuring accuracy. 

For contributions under $250, you’ll need a bank record, receipt, letter, or email from the charitable donation (shelter) to which you contributed. For contributions above $250, you’ll need a written statement detailing the amount paid for which you were not reimbursed by the organization and this document must be received in advance of your tax filing deadline.

With more than 1.5 million charitable organizations recognized by the IRS, there’s no reason why your generosity shouldn’t be rewarded with a tax break. Here’s your sign to foster an animal this tax year out of the goodness of your heart and with the added benefit of not breaking the bank.

Related articles

Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is a writer and producer. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. When she’s not at her computer, you can find her reading, practicing her Greek on Duolingo, and delving into the Sex and the City discourse. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their cat, Chicken, who rules with an iron fist.