Saving Lives Saves You Money: Yet Another Reason to Foster a Pet
What if you could save money while earning your family a new best friend? With the new foster pet tax deductions, that’s exactly what you’d be doing. Since Jan Van Dusen officially started her battle with the IRS over wanting tax returns for fostering 70 cats, nonprofit animal organizations have made it their mission to get foster parents the support they deserve. In 2009, the judge finally ruled in Van Dusen’s favor, stating that she could get tax deductions on 90% of what she had spent on the cats. How do you get in on this awesome opportunity, you ask? Kevin Long, a tax attorney and CPA from Massachusetts says, “The basic requirements are that the expenses have to be directly related and solely attributable to the rendition of services to a qualified 501(c)(3) organization” . This means that the deduction only counts towards supplies that are used strictly for the foster animal; i.e. veterinary bills, pet food and supplies, and animal medication. Additionally, you must have documentation of all of the expenses, and if you spend over $250, the non-profit organization you are working with must provide some form of written acknowledgment that you, are, in fact, fostering a pet, and not just going on weekly shopping sprees. Home expenses can be included as well, but only if that area of the home is specifically for the foster pet.
This is wonderful news for families looking to add a furry friend to their life, as well as for shelters everywhere. Without foster homes, many dogs and cats would have to be euthanized simply because the shelters are overcrowded. It seems a bit extreme that something as simple as taking in a pet for a little while could mean the difference between life and death, but for these cats and dogs it really is that simple. These animals need homes. Not to mention, most of these shelters are not particularly cozy places for the animals to live, and they often are frightened because they have never felt the security that a warm blanket and reliable meals can supply. In the past, people have avoided fostering animals due to the overflow of expenses that comes with it, but with this ruling, that’s no longer a valid excuse. Fostering pets is life changing – for both the human and pets.
Despite this, there is still another fear that stops many in their tracks when it comes to fostering pets. “What if it’s too emotionally draining?” they say. “It’s such a gray area – is it my pet or am I just the daycare center until the real mommy comes to pick them up?” Well, good news! You get to choose what you make it. Wendy Diamond, the leader of us here at Animal Fair Media, was in a similar position at one point. When a friend asked her to foster an older dog, she never thought that she would’ve found a new companion. Baby Hope, an eight-year-old Coton de Tulear, certainly wasn’t the baby like her name suggests. Despite this, having an older dog to sit patiently by her side when her first dog, Lucky, passed on, ended up being just what Wendy needed. Three weeks into the foster program, Wendy couldn’t resist offering Baby a home for life. Clearly Wendy chose to take the path of offering Baby a permanent place to stay, but many people foster animals time and time again. They get pleasure simply because they are making a difference in the lives of these dogs and cats while they wait to find their own family to join. Just by temporarily housing these animals, you are not only saving their lives, but you are also giving them hope for a brighter future, and helping them to see that the world isn’t as bad as their past may suggest. Christy Glover from Lucky Lab Rescue couldn’t be more excited about the court’s decision. “I can tell you wholeheartedly, that what you give out to this dog is returned to you two-fold. Knowing you not only saved their life, but found a home they can thrive in, is an amazing feeling” .