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Charitable Tax Deduction For Rescued Strays Or Pets

by Kathryn Watson

If you help out an animal shelter or animal rescue or foster organization that the Internal Revenue service (IRS) recognizes as a 501(3)(c) charity, you may qualify for a tax break. Aside from volunteering your time, you may be able to deduct on your federal income tax return certain unreimbursed expenses that you incur in supporting a nonprofit pet organization.

Allowable Deductions

Although you can't deduct expenses for the care of dogs, cats, or other animals that you rescue on your own, involvement with a qualified nonprofit group allows you to deduct charitable contributions you make to help pay for pet food, cat litter, dog leashes, pet crates, pet cleaning supplies, and veterinary bills. You may also deduct these same unreimbursed expenses you pay out of pocket while fostering a pet waiting for a permanent home.

If you purchase pet supplies yourself and then donate them to a qualified animal shelter or rescue organization, you may deduct what you pay for the items on your taxes. Keep receipts showing the cost of the supplies so that you have documentation of your donations come tax time.

While you may not deduct the value of your time as a volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue center, you may deduct parking fees and the standard mileage rate. To qualify for the deduction, you must use your own vehicle to make trips related to the care of the pets housed at the shelter where you volunteer.

Proof of Charitable Pet Contributions

Keep canceled checks showing any monetary donations you make to an animal shelter or qualified rescue organization. If you donate cash or make a monetary contribution of $250 or more, request confirmation in writing. Written confirmation must include the name of the organization, amount of the contribution, and date on which you made the contribution.

Appropriate Tax Deduction

If you choose to itemize deductions, you can deduct contributions to pet or animal charities on Schedule A of Form 1040. But even if you qualify to take a charitable contributions deduction, you may save more money in taxes by claiming the standard deduction. Unless the total of all your deductible expenses on Schedule A is greater than the amount of the standard deduction you can take, itemizing your deductions won't save you tax dollars.

It may also pay to keep your ears tuned to the latest legislative moves regarding the tax laws in your state. Some states have been pondering the idea of offering tax deductions or tax credits to taxpayers who adopt a pet from an animal shelter. While many state budgets are looking for ways to make cuts, the reason for considering the addition of such a tax break is to reduce overcrowding in local animal shelters.

For more information, contact a company like Balkcom Pearsall & Parrish CPA's PA.