You are here

Fostering Saves Lives - And Tax Dollars, Too!

Fostering a homeless animal is by far one of the most noble – and rewarding – experiences we humans can have. You are taking on the important task of providing a safe haven while an animal transitions from a undesirable situation into a forever home. This is the most important work of any animal rescue organization, and pinnacle to that group’s ability to address an animal’s needs – tending to their health and healing their hearts. Without a doubt, it is fostering that truly saves animals' lives. Did you know that this important work, and many of the expenses incurred along the way … are tax deductible? Good news – they are!

Thanks to a very important court case back in 2011, Van Dusen versus Commissioner of the IRS, foster families are entitled to deduct certain expenses when they file their income taxes. In this landmark ruling, Oakland family law attorney and cat rescuer, Jan Van Dusen, claimed over $12,000 in deductions on her tax return for the work she was doing for a local non-profit, “Fix Our Ferals”. Despite her minimal experience in tax law, she prevailed – paving the way for foster and rescue volunteers to get a much-needed break for the many out of pocket expenses they inevitably incur through their lifesaving work.

We at Angel City Pit Bulls cover the primary expenses for each of our loyal foster families; those include medical expenses, training, food and supplies. There are inevitable other expenses that are incurred along the way, however – and while those expenses may be minor, they can add up over time. Foster families are the most treasured asset of any rescue organization; we at Angel City Pit Bulls want to make sure our foster families are taken care of in every way possible!

Want to benefit from these deductions? There are a few important things you’ll need to know:

  • Must work with a non-profit! These deductions apply only if you work with a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization – like Angel City Pit Bulls. If you are volunteering with an organization that does not have this designation, your expenses will not be eligible for a tax break. And unfortunately – if you are an independent rescuer working on your own, and do not have a non-profit registration with the IRS - you are not eligible to deduct these expenses. In order to save tax dollars while continuing to help animals, consider teaming up with a non-profit organization; doing so will afford you the ability to deduct these expenses. You can verify the charitable status of any organization you are interested in working with on the IRS website – click here for an example: Angel City Pit Bulls IRS Charitable Status 
  • Keep diligent records! This includes anything related to the care of a foster animal in your home – from big-ticket items such as food and treats, to smaller things like cleaning supplies. You also can deduct expenses related to transportation – such as gas, tires, and even routine maintenance! Click here to read about the various deductions you are entitled to during your service as a volunteer. For expenses greater than $250, be sure to obtain a letter from your organization signifying that the expenses for your volunteer service were not reimbursed.
  • Talk to your CPA. It is always a good idea to review tax planning strategies with a professional CPA. While monetary donations to charitable organizations are fairly straightforward, deducting expenses are often more complex. Tax laws are notorious for changing every single year, and the best person to guide you and make sure you maximize your tax benefits will be a tax professional who keeps up to date with current legislation.

There is no price tag that can be placed upon the value of a foster family, and the important role they play in the business of saving lives. And while volunteering in animal welfare may not be the most lucrative endeavor, we hope that these tips and ideas will help to empower our foster families and volunteers to get a well-deserved break on their taxes. Maybe they will even inspire more families to get involved! If you would like to learn more about how to become a foster family for Angel City Pit Bulls, you can find all the information on how to apply and who to contact on our fostering page. We are always in need of foster homes; apply today, and you will reap benefits untold!

Best of luck to everyone at the close of this year’s tax season. All of us at Angel City Pit Bulls – as well as the IRS – salute you!

Director of Fundraising

P.S. If you are looking for that last-minute tax deduction before you file on Monday – we appreciate you thinking of us! All donations made to Angel City Pit Bulls are tax-deductible; why give your dollars to the IRS, if you can give them to pit bulls instead, right?  Just visit our donations page - thank you for your support!