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Level 1

Emotional Support Animals expenses as medical deduction?

This is to clarify other posts that focus on Publication 502 as the sole guidance for service animal expenses for medical deductions. Although Publication 502 retains the adjective “physical” (“You can include in medical expenses the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually-impaired or hearing-impaired person, or a person with other physical disabilities.”) (emphasis added). Emotional Support Animals expenses can qualify... The costs of buying, training, and maintaining a service animal to assist an individual with mental disabilities may qualify as medical care if the taxpayer can establish that the taxpayer is using the service animal primarily for medical care to alleviate a mental defect or illness and that the taxpayer would not have paid the expenses but for the disease or illness. Reference: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-wd/10-0129.pdf and http://doglawreporter.blogspot.com/2010/07/irs-affirms-deductibility-of.html





2 Replies
Level 1

Emotional Support Animals expenses as medical deduction?

Thanks so much for the additional guidance and links!!! The only other answers made it appear there was no way to claim emotional support animals BUT this shows that it is possible.

Level 3

Emotional Support Animals expenses as medical deduction?

It is possible, on a case by case basis.    Service dogs and support animals are not one in the same.  Service dogs have a clear allowance.   Emotional support animals are less clear but the above explanation is spot on. It really is on a case by case basis. Some deductions for this have been allowed while others have not.   One thing I've seen somewhat frequently,  though not 100%, consistently, is that "converting" a pet to a support animal makes the deduction harder than when the animal is acquired for purpose of providing the support.