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Are therapy dogs a tax deductible expense?

Having a dog as a pet can be extremely motivating and promote positivity in your life. Dogs have the ability to make us smile and laugh and always know when we’re feeling down. In recent years you may have noticed a big push on mental health awareness and for this reason therapy dogs have become a popular introduction into settings such as hospitals, schools, retirement and care homes. A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort and support to those who need it most.

Therapy dogs are specifically trained to teach empathy and encourage interpersonal skills and communication. Therapy dogs are often used in schools for this reason to help children to remain calm and develop better relationships with their teachers and peers.

Research shows that introducing therapy dogs to an environment such as a care home has a positive impact on residents especially those who suffer from Alzheimers or Dementia. This is because dogs can often help to bring back happy memories whilst providing companionship and reducing stress levels.

For these reasons you may wish to introduce a therapy dog into your work environment. If you have justification for doing this then your dog could be classed as a tax deductible expense.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Your dog must be a particular breed which reflects the role you need it fill
  • The dog must be trained as a therapy dog
  • The dog takes part in regular activity to support people

When you’re a sole trader there’s always a fine line between personal and business expenses. Often we have to only claim a proportion of the expense if it’s used for both personal and business use. With a therapy dog however, they must have a comforting home environment and therefore they need to live with you for their ongoing training. For this reason the full cost of a therapy dog is a tax deductible expense.

HMRC do not mention therapy dogs in their guide to business expenses. However we do know that if you can prove that it’s a justified expense for your business and to support your clients the cost will be allowable.

If you need any further help with your expenses, please do get in touch with us. We know expenses can be a grey area for your business and it’s important that you’re claiming all expenses you’re eligible for.

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