In our blog of October 5, 2009 we wrote the following:[1]

About a decade ago [in about 1999], again ahead of the curve, ISAR came up with the suggestion that Congress amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide a tax deduction for the cost of spay/neuter. (A copy of ISAR’s Model Statute can be found HERE.) In the introduction to ISAR’s Model Statute we set forth the policy reasons for the deduction, and argued that it’s a “win-win” situation, as indeed it is.

Sadly, nothing came of ISAR’s groundbreaking idea — until now [in 2009].

A few months ago, Representative McCotter introduced H.R. 3501 (the “Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (‘HAPPY’) Act”), entitled “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a deduction for pet care expenses.” The Bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

[Apparently drawing its inspiration from ISAR’s Model Statute], [t]he Bill recites that Congress finds “63 percent of United States households own a pet” and that “the Human-Animal bond has been shown to have positive effects upon people’s emotional and physical well-being.”

Accordingly, the IRC amendment would allow a “deduction for the taxable year an amount equal to the qualified pet care expenses[2] of the taxpayer during the taxable year for any qualified pet of the taxpayer,” limited to $3,500. (The statute goes on to define “qualified pet care expenses” and “qualified pet.”)

Because ISAR is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization we can’t lobby for legislation, but we certainly can observe that, given our Model Spay/Neuter Tax Deduction Statute, H.R. 3501 is a welcome development — but for one problem. Had ISAR’s input been sought in the drafting of H.R. 3501, we would have suggested that the deductible “qualified pet care expenses” mandatorily include spay/neuter. In other words, no reimbursement for any expenses unless included in them was the cost of spay/neuter.

Perhaps Representative McCotter, or his co-sponsors will see fit to amend their amendment.

Although ISAR considered the bill a “welcome development,” we noted that a weakness was its failure to include in “qualified pet care expenses” mandatory spay/neuter.

Regrettably, the bill went nowhere, perhaps for this reason or because it included too much in “qualified pet care expenses.” No such bill has been enacted by Congress since.

In our recent Blog of November 1, 2013 — ISAR’s Model Spay/Neuter Tax Deduction Statute (Part I) we revisited the subject of a tax deduction for spaying/neutering dogs and cats, making the point that the Internal Revenue Code implements social policy by its myriad allowable exemptions and deductions, that spay/neuter of pet dogs and cats serves several important public interests, and that a tax deduction on a federal and/or state level would greatly foster those interests.

In concluding, we wrote that:

ISAR is making this project — obtaining tax relief for persons who spay/neuter their dogs and cats — a priority.

Immediately below is the outline of an off-the-shelf bill that can be used for introduction into any state legislature and/or Congress.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, ISAR’s ability to lobby for the introduction and enactment of legislation is limited. We need volunteers to carry the ball for us, and for the animals.

ISAR’s proposal for a spay/neuter tax deduction is so simple, and could make such an impact on the overpopulation problem, that there should be no lack of animal advocates who are willing to find a sympathetic legislator willing to carry ISAR’s proposed statute, or something similar, in his or her legislative body or administrative agency.

Often, there is an idea whose time has come. We believe that for this idea — ISAR’s “Model Spay/Neuter Tax Deduction Statute” — the time has surely come.

But we cannot do this alone. Please help.

One response to our November 1, 2013, blog informed us that on January 18, 2010 two West Virginia legislators had introduced a bill “relating to creating a personal income tax credit for persons who may choose to spay or neuter their pets.” Because it went nowhere, Senators Laird and Snyder will reintroduce it in the next session of the West Virginia Legislature.

By itself, this is good news.

Even better is that their bill is taken almost verbatim from the Model Statute ISAR promulgated more than 20 years ago.

To repeat: “. . . we cannot do this alone. Please help.”


[1] Material in brackets has been added.
[2] Emphasis added.

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