If you require a service animal, you know how vital they can be in helping you navigate daily life. And they provide special snuggles, too.
Here are some reasons why a person may need a service animal, what qualifies as one, and the tax benefits of having your furry friend.
Why a person may need a service animal
- Physical disabilities: If you have physical disabilities, service animals can perform specific tasks, including retrieving items, opening doors, and providing balance and stability.
- Visual impairments: Service animals can guide individuals with visual impairments and help them navigate their surroundings safely.
- Hearing impairments: Service animals can alert hearing-impaired individuals to essential sounds such as alarms, doorbells, and approaching vehicles.
- Medical conditions: If you are diabetic, special diabetic service dogs (also called diabetic alert dogs or DADs) are trained to let you know when your blood sugar has spiked too high or dropped too low. If you have epilepsy, seizure-alert dogs can sense and notify you of an oncoming seizure. PTSD service dogs perform specific tasks that help address PTSD symptoms, including applying pressure to reduce anxiety and interrupting flashbacks with some nudging.
- Autism: Service animals can provide emotional support and help individuals with autism navigate social situations.
- Emotional Support: Service animals can give emotional support to their owners, which can be especially helpful for those with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. They can help reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort during panic attacks, and offer a sense of security and companionship.
- Increased Independence: Service animals can help their owners become more independent by assisting with tasks such as opening doors, retrieving items, and navigating crowded areas. This can be especially helpful for those with mobility issues or other disabilities.
- Improved Socialization: Service animals can also help their owners improve their socialization skills by providing a conversation starter and helping to break down barriers.
Qualifying as a Service Animal
How does an animal become a service animal? The animal must be trained to perform tasks that mitigate the owner’s disability. Examples include guiding the owner through crowds, alerting them to sounds or smells, or providing physical support.
Tax Benefits of Having a Service Animal
There are tax benefits to having a service animal. If you are a visually impaired or hearing disabled person or a person with other physical disabilities, you can include in your medical expenses the cost of buying, training, and maintaining your guide dog or other service animal. Generally, this could include the cost of food, veterinary care, grooming, and any other costs incurred to maintain the health and life of the service animal so that it may perform its duties.
If you own a service animal, don’t worry about knowing the above tax rules. Meet with a TurboTax Full Service expert who can prepare, sign, and file your taxes so you can be 100% confident your taxes are done right. Start TurboTax Live Full Service today, in English or Spanish, and get your taxes done and off your mind.