Animal lovers win court case

If you provide care for stray or feral animals in your home for an IRS-approved charity, you may be able to take a tax deduction for your out-of-pocket expenses. A recent U.S. Tax Court judge ruled that a taxpayer who fostered feral and stray cats in her home could deduct amounts she spent for food, veterinarian bills, litter, and other unreimbursed expenses incurred to help the charity in its mission.

An important requirement for such expenses to be deductible: the taxpayer must keep records of the expenses, and if they exceed $250, the charity must provide a contemporaneous written acknowledgment of the expenses as a charitable donation. The Humane Society hopes to get the word out on this case, stating that thousands of members do volunteer work such as this and spend their own money to support the mission of local animal shelters and rescue groups.

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