People here in Toccoa, GA, have pets just like anywhere else in the country. In many cases, the family dog is as much a member of the family as Mikey or Sally. Every year someone starts to explain to me how expensive it is to take care of Phideaux (French for Fido). Then they explain how it would be very beneficial if they could claim Phideaux as a dependent. Having thought about it, I would like to discuss a few of the reasons why your dog is not a dependent.
- A dependent, when he/she is very young, requires frequent diaper changes at all hours of the day or night… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent has to attend school, which involves getting him/her on the bus or firing up the family minivan for the commute to school… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent, even while doing nothing to earn it, thinks he/she should have an allowance, even though you supply everything needed… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent, after attaining the advanced age of 16, will frequently at very inconvenient times ask for the keys to the car… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent, in the interest of having a better life, will require a mortgage sized investment to go to college… a dog doesn’t!
- Dependents, when hearing the dreaded word ‘NO’, will forcibly offer unending lists of reasons why the answer should have been yes… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent, after opening a stack of gifts at Christmas, will ask if that is all… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent, after getting a new bicycle for his birthday, will complain that it isn’t the right brand… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent, especially a teenager, will raid your refrigerator, totally consuming what you had planned to eat later… a dog doesn’t!
- A dependent will decide by the time they are in the 3rd or 4th grade they need the latest and greatest smart phone to keep in touch with you… a dog doesn’t!
There would be obvious advantages to having another dependent or two at tax time. Like I’ve shown above, there are many, many indications why a dog is not like a dependent. All this (Oh yeah, there are IRS rules, too) means ‘NO, you can’t claim the dog as a dependent on your tax return!’