House Bill proposes tax breaks for pet owners

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House Bill proposes tax breaks for pet ownersU.S. legislators are considering the extension of tax deductions to pet owners for their animal’s healthcare expenses.

Last month, Republican representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan introduced H.R. 3501 before the House of Representatives, dubbing the bill the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act. The proposal would amend the IRS code to allow taxpayers deductions of up to $3,500 for certain pet care expenses.

To justify the change in IRS code, the bill mentioned that the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey determined 63 percent of U.S. households own a pet and that the "Human-Animal Bond has been shown to have positive effects upon people’s emotion and physical well-being."

The legislation defined "qualified pets" as legally owned domesticated live animals, exempting animals used for research or owned in association with a trade or business. Qualified expenses are "amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet."

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, where it remains under consideration.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, annual costs of caring for cats and dogs can range from $670 to $1,580, depending on the commodities and services purchased.

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