In a groundbreaking victory for animal rescuers around the country, one California animal foster fought the Internal Revenue Service in court – and won! As a result of Van Dusen v. Commissioner, animal rescuers nationwide that are fostering dogs and/or cats for approved charities may claim the expenses during tax time.
An approved charity is one that is recognized by the IRS with the 501(c)(3) designation as a Not-for-Profit organization. Fostering expenses eligible for deduction are food, medicines, veterinary bills, crates, garbage bags, and the like. Even a portion of your utilities can be considered expenses as long as a a specific area of your home is only used for the care of the animals and nothing else.
In addition to animal rescue, the new tax laws apply to all volunteer expenses related to charitable work for an approved organization.
If you foster a dog (or many dogs!) make sure to save any and all receipts, and, if expenses add up to over $250 for the year, obtain a letter from the charitable organization that confirms your volunteer or foster status.
The Humane Society has said that their volunteers spend, on average, between $2,000 and $15,000 each year on out-of-pocket expenses related to fostering animals. “This is the first time the court has addressed these expenses,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel of the Humane Society. “Now we want to get the word out.”
There are currently more than 1.5million charitable organizations recognized by the IRS, with volunteers spending millions of dollars out of pocket to support them. Finally, those volunteers have an opportunity to be rewarded for their generosity and kindness.
Are you an animal foster? Have you ever claimed those expenses on your tax filing? Share your experiences with us below!