This year, Take Your Dog to Work Day falls on 21 June. Over recent years I have noticed more and more employers allowing staff to bring their dogs to work on this and in some cases many other days too. Of course many of us working from home will have spent a great deal of time working with man’s best friends over the last year and will continue to do so on this Monday at our temporary home office.
But as well as being great companions, I am often asked by the self-employed whether our companions are tax deductible?
Like many areas of tax it’s a grey area.
Where the dog is actively used in a business as a working dog like a sheepdog or a guard dog then the costs will be allowable. The businessman can claim capital allowances on the original cost of the dog and claim the costs of keeping the dog eg food bills and vet’s bills.
Of course, as a non-business expense, no tax deduction would be allowed for dogs kept as pets. However, it’s often a fine line between working dog and pet. For example, a dog kept by a pub landlord that acts as a pet during the day but an unpaid night watchman and strong deterrent to a would be thief at night. In these situations it is often possible to negotiate a sensible proportion of costs between allowable and non-allowable with HMRC.
But tax deductible or not, we wouldn’t be without our dogs. If you are lucky enough, have a lovely day with your dog on Monday