The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act, H.R. 3501, has been introduced in the House of Representatives and has made its way to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The HAPPY Act would amend an IRS code to allow a deduction for qualified pet care expenses of up to $3500 a year.
Qualified pet care expenses are being defined as “amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet,” and can be applied to any legally owned domesticated animal, with the exception of those used in research or as part of a business.
Critics of this act are arguing that it’s not an important issue in the face of other problems, such as unemployment. However, considering the state of the economy, offering a tax deduction for the costs of pet care, particularly veterinary expenses, could provide a huge relief to those who are suffering financial strains.
According to the National Pet Owners Survey, 63% of households have pets, which means a lot of people and animals would benefit from this act.
Additionally, this could encourage more people to license their pets, along with encouraging them to make sure their pet receives adequate veterinary care and vaccinations. Regular checkups at the vet may also mean catching potential health issues before they turn into serious, and expensive, complications.
This act could also mean fewer animals getting euthanized or winding up in already overflowing shelters as a result of sickness or injury or even simply because owners can’t afford the costs of basic care, while simultaneously promoting adoptions by those who might be worried about the financial aspects of owning a pet.