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Tax return: What are the deductible costs for pets

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Every year the time has come: the tax return has to be submitted. German taxpayers must submit their declaration to the tax office by July 31, 2021.

Anyone who owns a pet cannot, in principle, deduct the costs for it – but there are a few exceptions. Here you will find an overview of the most important points:

Pet owner liability insurance

There are various types of insurance that pet owners can take out. For example, if you pay contributions for liability insurance for your dog or horse, these can be completely deducted as special expenses. However, other insurances, such as surgery and health insurance, cannot be claimed for tax purposes.

Vacation care

If you’ve been on vacation last year and paid someone to look after your pet, this is considered a household service. But be careful: this only applies if your pet was cared for in your own four walls, i.e. the person drove to your home to look after the animal. Animal pensions or the like are not included.

Animal hairdresser

Did your animal get a new hairstyle in 2020? Under certain circumstances, you can actually deduct these costs from tax. Just like with holiday care, the following applies: If the hairdresser appointment took place in your apartment or house, you can note this as household-related services in your tax return. However, if you went to a hairdressing salon, the costs are not deductible.

Working animals and assistance dogs

Animals that you keep for professional reasons are deductible. These include, for example, guard and police dogs. This then affects the cost of feed, accessories and the veterinarian. Working dogs are also exempt from dog tax. You can also deduct the costs of therapy dogs and guide dogs for the blind.

If you have a pet due to a mental illness, for example anxiety disorders or PTSD, these costs are also taken into account. It is important here: a doctor must issue you with a purchase certificate confirming that you urgently need the animal.

Donations to animal welfare organizations

Donations and contributions to organizations that work for animal welfare can be deducted from your tax return. It is important that the organization is exempt from corporation tax. You can ask about this at the clubs or usually read it on the website. Amounts of up to 200 euros are considered so-called small donations, for which proof of payment is sufficient. If you donate more money, you need a donation receipt.

These costs are not deductible

You cannot deduct the general costs for buying and caring for the animal, i.e. food, toys or other accessories. These are part of the private lifestyle – after all, you decide for yourself whether you want to keep an animal or not. The veterinary costs and dog tax are also not taken into account in the tax return.


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