How to save taxes while walking

Your dog can guard your house, pick up bats, be a good companion … But did you know that you can also save taxes with your dog?

After a new verdict, this could be possible: After that, you can claim care costs for pets such as dogs and cats in your tax return. At least that was decided by the Finanzgericht Düsseldorf in February (file 15 K 1779/14).

The case concerned a couple’s domestic cat kept in the apartment. The owners commissioned an animal and housing supervisor with the supply of the Stubentigers during their absence and paid for it per day € 12. In the year came together € 302.90. The carer’s bills paid the couple by bank transfer. The amount was then claimed by the two in their income tax return as household-related services.

As a reminder: The state fosters work in your home, your house or your garden for tax purposes. As part of the household services and craftsmanship you can save up to € 5,710 per year taxes! For household services, you can deduct 20% of the service share per year directly from your tax burden.


  • You must be able to prove the household services through invoices.
  • The invoice amount must be transferred (no cash payment).
  • Material and labor costs must be shown separately in the invoice, because only the labor, but not the material content is favored.

The cat owners assumed that the costs of caring for their pet would be tax-advantaged – but not their tax office, which did not want to recognize the costs. A tax reduction for animal care, nursing and medical costs is excluded. However, in the following litigation, the Finanzgericht ruled in favor of animal friends: The pet care is closely related to the keeper’s home economics and is therefore covered by the tax incentive for household services.

What the judgment means to pet owners

  • If you have your dog or cat cared for while you are on vacation or at work, you may try to claim the costs as household services after this judgment. It is also possible after that, for example, to set the cost of going for a walk with the dog.
  • But beware: The financial administration has appealed against the verdict! The Federal Finance Court must now finally decide on it. That means in practice: If you incur costs for the care of a dog or cat, you make the appropriate amounts in your tax return. If your tax office does not play along and does not recognize these costs, you file a protest with reference to the procedure. If the BFH judges later decide to pet-friendly, you will be refunded the tax savings retrospectively.