In the final week before the August summer recess, Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R, MI) has proposed the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act. In particular, McCotter’s HAPPY Act would allow pet owners to take a $3,500 tax deduction for expenses related to pet and veterinary care.

Conversely, when tackling health insurance reform for humans, Republican proposals are far less generous. Varying Republican plans offer individual tax credits of only $2,500 or $2,290 to help Americans purchase health insurance on their own.

As 47 million Americans without health insurance are struggling to keep their families healthy, the Republicans’ primary solution revolves around “tax credits” – but the tax credits they offer for humans are at least $1,000 less than they’re offering to dogs and cats.

Click here to view H.R. 3501, a/k/a, the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act.

House Resolution 3501, commonly referred to as the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years, or HAPPY Act, would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow an individual to deduct up to $3,500 for “qualified pet care expenses.”

“Qualified pet care expenses” is defined as “amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet.”

“Qualified pet” is defined as “a legally owned, domesticated, live animal.” It does not include animals used for research or owned or used in conjunction with a trade or business.

The act would not apply for a person who deducted expenses under IRC sections 162 (ordinary and necessary expenses) and 213 (diagnostic and similar procedures, medical devices and other medical expenses not covered by insurance) during the preceding three taxable years.

The measure, introduced on July 31, was drafted in conjunction with data from the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey. It has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) issued a Pet Alert on Aug. 5 supporting the proposal.

“Providing pet owners the opportunity to deduct pet care expenses is an important step towards ensuring that pet owners provide adequate veterinary and other necessary pet care,” PIJAC stated. “It encourages responsible pet ownership and will hopefully reduce the abandonment of pets by people struggling as a result of the economic downturn.”

Click here to view H.R. 3501.

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