Update1: A New Tax Deduction…for Pets?by Tim Manni
Update1: Due to the numerous amount of comments we received from readers who were in favor of the tax deduction for pets (see story below), we wanted to provide them with another avenue to financially protect themselves and the health of their pets, in case Rep. McCotter’s bill doesn’t go through.
Just like our medical bills, vet bills can pile up fast and can easily cause you to fall into debt. For many years, pet insurance has been popular amongst pet owners nationwide. It can help to preserve the heath of your animals and to help keep your finances intact at the same time. Pet owners widely consider their animals as part of the family, so when the vet says their pet needs surgery or prescription medication, they don’t think twice.
Protect your hard-earned money and the health of your pet by considering pet insurance.
(Original story published on 8/19/09) Despite the laundry list of pressing matters facing lawmakers these days — the recession, an unemployment rate of 9.4%, a national divide over the president’s proposed health care reform (just to name a few) — one U.S. lawmaker recently proposed a bill which would allow pet owners to deduct up to $3,500 for “qualified pet-care expenses.”
The bill, introduced by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is being referred to as the HAPPY Act, a.k.a the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years Act. The HAPPY Act covers a multitude of expenses that owners of domestic animals can accrue in a given year. What it doesn’t cover is the purchase or adoption cost of the animal itself.
Enter the Backlash (emphasis added):
Kathy at Blogging For Michigan also notes that people can deduct expenses for their own medical care only if those costs exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income, so the bill would give your pet’s medical bills better tax treatment than your own.
We love our dogs, but we think this is kind of silly. Sure, pets have gained more legal rights in the last decade or so, and aren’t simply property that you can treat any way you want. Thank goodness for that. But a tax deduction? We can imagine all kinds of problems, including how this would be enforced.
Pet Advocates Love the Idea
Despite the criticisms, the bill does have some concrete objectives. The HAPPY Act is designed to ensure “…that pet owners provide adequate veterinary and other necessary pet care. It encourages responsible pet ownership and will hopefully reduce the abandonment of pets by people struggling as a result of the economic downturn.”
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) issue a “pet alert” supporting the lawmaker’s bill, saying it ensures responsible pet ownership.
What do you say? Has this bill been long overdue, or do the nation’s lawmakers have more pressing issues to worry about?
For more on the subject, read our post titled “Foreclosed Pets.”