How to Claim Your Foster Pet on Your Taxes · The Wildest

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How to Claim Your Foster Pet on Your Taxes

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

by Avery Felman
Updated March 19, 2024
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If you fostered a pet this year, congratulations 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.

If you end up adopting your foster, know that those adoption fees are not considered a charitable contribution. But any additional fostering expenses you paid may be deductible, unless they’re considered payment for goods and services, like a pet bed or neutering. Because 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.

What you can write off

Luckily for those who foster, there’s no shortage of eligible deductions, a shortlist of which includes:

  • food

  • medicines

  • veterinary bill

  • crates

  • cleaning supplies

You can even write off a portion of the utility bill if a section of the home is dedicated to caring for fosters. As most taxpayers already know, however, proper record-keeping is essential for ensuring accuracy. 

What you need documentation for

  • 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. Fostering helps keep pets out of overcrowded shelters and in warm, loving homes — so here’s your sign to foster an animal this tax year, with the added benefit of not breaking the bank.

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.

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