The HAPPY Act

By :: August 7th, 2009

Representative Thaddeus McCotter, a fourth-term Republican from Livonia MI, has introduced the HAPPY Act—the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years Act. It is HR 3501, and it was introduced on July 31. You could look it up.

The HAPPY Act would allow taxpayers to deduct up to $3,500-a-year in pet care expenses, including vet care.

The federal deficit so far this year is $1.268 trillion.

You might also think that Mr. McCotter would have more important issues on his mind. For instance, the unemployment rate in his home state of Michigan is 15.2 percent. According to Rep. McCotter’s official biography, “He has tirelessly fought to reduce taxes and the size and scope of government; and, most importantly, Congressman McCotter has dedicated every effort to listen to and serve his constituents.”

I’m sure.

Btw, Rep. McCotter might be interested in this tax return. Great minds and all that.

Here is an updated post on the Happy Act.

64Comments

  1. Anonymous  ::  10:40 pm on August 7th, 2009:

    What, not Head of Household status for pet owners?

  2. Anonymous  ::  2:17 pm on August 10th, 2009:

    Sometimes interns get to write bills, which are understood to go nowhere after submission.

  3. Anonymous  ::  3:26 pm on August 13th, 2009:

    Hey – as the responsible owner of very well-cared for dogs, one cat, and a cockatoo, I appreciate this bill. There have been some years that our total vet bills have exceeded $5,000. That's more than a lot of people spend on child support.

  4. Anonymous  ::  8:41 am on August 14th, 2009:

    Though I totally support need for people to have pets. I don't think pet expenses should be deductible. One can't compare it to child support. Pets are important to some but they are not children. Healthcare costs and budget deficit are more important issues than this one. How about tax savings for small businesses like our dateing site.

  5. Anonymous  ::  4:38 pm on August 18th, 2009:

    It's about time we get to deduct taxes for our furry pets. Our pets are dependent on us for survival. Key word here is dependent.

  6. Anonymous  ::  4:42 pm on August 18th, 2009:

    You think dating (you spelled your own business incorrectly) is a more important write off than pets? I think this is awesome, as a pet lover and owner of 5. I am also a home owner, so the ability to claim and get back more would help me contribute to the economy. And for some of us, pets are our kids. You get plenty of tax write-offs as a business owner (including the PC you responded on).

  7. Anonymous  ::  7:24 pm on August 18th, 2009:

    LoL, yeah criticize the tax breaks for pets and in the same breath ask for a tax break on your dating site…spam or not, what a stupid thing to do! lol

  8. Anonymous  ::  5:54 pm on August 21st, 2009:

    This is a smart tax deduction actually. Only someone who can't see the forest for the trees would think otherwise. Many local communities and counties are overwhelmed by animal control costs, and those costs are exacerbated by people who do not spay and neuter their animals. The #1 reason given by people who don't s/n is cost. In some areas, a spay for a cat can cost $250, and dogs more. But studies have shown that for every dollar spent on s/n services, $4 in animal control costs are saved. A tax break that helps people cover vet bills could encourage more s/n and could save millions in animal control costs. Anything that helps people pay for the vet expense of s/n is a good thing!

  9. Anonymous  ::  12:53 pm on August 22nd, 2009:

    Spaying and nuetering and vaccinations are cost-effective public policy that saves tax payers and improves public health in the long run.
    Animals provide greater security than most of the wasted money on defense projects. In addition, they improve the health and well-being of Americans, which should decrease health care. Obviously, you don't care about senior citizens who rely on their pets for emotional support.
    There is a lot of stupid spending in Congress that middle class Americans never get the chance to take advantage of.
    If we got out of Iraq and Afganistan, we could easily pay for this bill and health care.

  10. Anonymous  ::  1:25 pm on September 25th, 2009:

    This is just crazy. I love animals and have several myself but I don't want another crazy government tax and give away. Please America wake up and look at what is happening to our country. It isn't time to spend more on animals when we have millions of people out of work. Also please remember who is paying for all of this. All taxes have to be paid for unless you put them on a charge card. I think we have way too much on our charge card already. Don't forget what you have to do when your charge card bill comes and if you don't have the money to pay what comes next?

  11. Anonymous  ::  6:08 pm on October 1st, 2009:

    You know what I love? Broccoli! It tastes great and it's a vegetable so you know it's good for you.
    SO WE NEED A TAX BREAK FOR BROCCOLI!
    Because whenever government gets involved, good things happen! Because whatever I like, everybody else should be forced to pay for and to have! It doesn't matter that maybe somebody doesn't like broccoli, if I want it, I shouldn't have to pay for it. Does that make sense? My brain says no, but my heart says yes!

  12. Anonymous  ::  9:25 pm on October 2nd, 2009:

    I totally agree – with 8 dogs and a cat our vet bills will always reach at least 8-9 thousand a year and any help in caring for our animals is welcomed. If you take care of your animals correctly then you would all understand and support this bill, especially since they can't make people pay child support!

  13. Anonymous  ::  3:45 pm on October 7th, 2009:

    I totally disagree with Ryan, i have two dogs and they are like my kids they have the best care best vets and love and affection and it costs money just as it does to have kids. you have kids and you get deductions why not for pets when they are part of your family.

  14. Anonymous  ::  3:28 pm on October 9th, 2009:

    I'm all for ANYTHING that helps owners support and care for pets. Too many animals are homeless, abandoned/abused or put down. There ARE greater social issues, true, but there will ALWAYS be greater issues. When will it be the animals' turn? Had a hippie Democrat proposed this, it would have been OK. A little extra good will for everything we do to love and care for our pets goes a long way.

  15. Anonymous  ::  7:41 pm on October 9th, 2009:

    Pets have proven health benefits (http://www.cdc.gov/Healthypets/health_benefits.htm). They can also teach children responsibility, keep shut-ins company, save people during fires by waking them up, etc. I have seen tax breaks for worse things.

  16. Anonymous  ::  1:00 pm on October 14th, 2009:

    Hysterical, go do stand up! Pets are important and cost money..this bill is a fantastic idea.. Don't mess with us animal lovers we love them more than alot of humans.

  17. Anonymous  ::  1:18 pm on October 14th, 2009:

    OMG!!!!!! Now I have to pay for other people's pets?
    This strikes me as completely insane. I realize pets have great benefits for their owners, but why should taxpayers pay for your pets?
    Sorry, this is more reason why only people who pay federal income taxes should a voice in how they are spent.

  18. Anonymous  ::  2:16 pm on October 14th, 2009:

    Pet overpopulation is not just a problem for the animals or for the shelters involved. Each year communities are forced to spend millions of taxpayer dollars trying to cope with the consequences of this surplus of pets. These public costs include services such as investigating animal cruelty, humanely capturing stray animals, and sheltering lost and homeless animals.

  19. Anonymous  ::  9:17 pm on October 14th, 2009:

    Why not a little relief for those of us who prefer 4-legged kids, I've been helping to send your 2-legged kids to school for over 35 years.

  20. Anonymous  ::  12:27 am on October 15th, 2009:

    I outgrew pet ownership in my youth and am absolutely appalled by this idea. Pets and the pet industry consume unbelievable quantities of resources and for most people are a luxury, not a necessity. I am fervently opposed to tax deductions for any optional expenses that people take on for personal pleasure. I have minimized my footprint by not breeding and not having pets. Do I get a tax break for that? Of course not.
    I would support a deduction for companion animals for disabled people. Pets???? Give me a friggin' (tax) break!

  21. Anonymous  ::  3:16 am on October 16th, 2009:

    Pet ownership is a personal decision and therefore personal expense. These expense should never be deductible. This bill should never see the light of day.

  22. Anonymous  ::  10:55 am on October 16th, 2009:

    My pets are my children. Why should I not get the same benefits for them as I would get for children? People who get tax deductions for their children keep a lot more out of the tax pool than I would for my dogs!

  23. Anonymous  ::  8:01 pm on October 16th, 2009:

    and so is having kids, its your personal choice to have children so why should parents get deductions for there kids but not there pets,
    SUPPORTTTTT THE HAPPYYYY ACCTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Anonymous  ::  3:48 pm on October 17th, 2009:

    I love dogs and snakes more than anyone in government, they can be trusted to make more intelligent decisions. Even so, this is stupid considering 1.4 trillion deficit spending. Cut the spendings, don't raise taxes. DUH!

  25. Anonymous  ::  9:16 pm on October 17th, 2009:

    the HAPPY act is one of the few things coming from the government that is a good thing. More and more animals are being dumped or destroyed. THis will encourage people to keep their pets and allow others to adopt thereby creating more money.

  26. Anonymous  ::  1:14 am on October 18th, 2009:

    People keep saying that because there is a tax break for children they deserve one for their pets. I have both, children and pets, love them both although in no way equally!! Pets are not our future, children are!! My children will be the ones taking care of you in your old age not my dog! Yes animal abuse is a problem and should not be ignored, this HAPPY act is not addressing that issue. When I made the choice to bring children into this world is was not for the tax break and the amount that my children will contribute to this society as adults will far outweigh the tax credit!

  27. Anonymous  ::  2:32 pm on October 20th, 2009:

    62% of Americans are pet owners. This is a non-partisan issue that would help millions. We give tax credits for children and govt. handouts that encourage people to have more children than they can afford. How can anyone be against this bill? I imagine the author of the original information is more anti-Republican than he/she is anti-pet. My state's unemployment is over 10%, many people relinquish their animals to municipal shelters because they cannot afford to care for them. This bill would help those pet owners and lessen the strain on city shelters.

  28. Anonymous  ::  1:13 pm on October 31st, 2009:

    having children is a personal decision and therefore should be a personal expense. Buying a home is a personal decision and therefore should be a personal expense. Just sayin'.

  29. Anonymous  ::  7:25 am on November 2nd, 2009:

    Actually our pets are our kids Animals are a lot better than children.

  30. Anonymous  ::  7:30 am on November 2nd, 2009:

    BROCCOLI??? You are an idiot!! I am soooo tired of hearing about people and their kids, blah blah blah!!! Because we choose not to have kids and have animails instead ,which we consider our kids, why not cut us some slack!? Go play fetch with your broccoli dumb ass!!

  31. Anonymous  ::  7:35 am on November 2nd, 2009:

    I love it!! All these kids that rob,steal and rape people we have to pay their schooling. But unconditional love givers they have a problem with. These people are all fans of Michael Vicks i bet!!

  32. Anonymous  ::  11:14 pm on November 2nd, 2009:

    This is the most idiotic thing I have heard in a long time. If people are that concerned about the well being of animals why don’t they turn on the backyard breeders and the idiots that don’t spay or neuter their pets. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. I spent $6K on my dog's legs but I certainly don’t expect other taxpayers to subsidize the cost. Americans have to be the whinest people on the planet. Good grief! Just when I thought I had heard it all. We have whiney fat people lining up for healthcare while they smoke cigarettes and now they will carry their fat pets along with them demanding tax credits.
    What is going to prevent people who don't care about animals to hoard them and claim the tax credit? What about fraud? People don't even get tax credits for their healthcare – animals should? The problem is pet overpopulation. Breeders and pet distributors should charge a hefty deposit that is only refunded when a pet is proved to be spayed or neutered.

  33. Anonymous  ::  11:44 pm on November 4th, 2009:

    Anyone opposed to this act has obviously never had to pay for cancer treatment for a beloved companion animal.
    And Elective? Choice??? I'm glad it's my choice to responsible enough to take care of my companion animals (who, by the way, do experience emotion and feel paid) and for more than my fair share of the ones others neglect.
    It's the 21st century. . . some of us are humane.

  34. Anonymous  ::  5:02 am on November 5th, 2009:

    Children are a personal decision. Should we ask congress to revoke that deduction? Oh, and we all get a personal deduction of at least 8,950. Should that be taken away too?

  35. Anonymous  ::  8:56 pm on November 5th, 2009:

    Anyone who cannot see the benefits here is short-sighted. Aa a pet owner I support a lot of industries: dog food, dog toys, veteranarians, medical supplies (flea & heartworm preventatives to name a couple), the kennel when I need to board, etc. Obviously it would be quite simple to check the veracity of legitimate animal owners: through licensing or microchip numbers and documented receipts with graduated tax credits. Your kid gets a SSN that you need to put on the tax form, what is to say you can't fraud that? Also, if you do not get medical expenses as a tax deduction, get a new accountant.

  36. Anonymous  ::  3:17 pm on November 10th, 2009:

    Why should taxpayers pay for your kids? As a single individual with a dog, I don't understand why I am taxed at the highest rate, just because I'm not married and have no kids. I pay for your kids, so you can stand to cough up a little for my dog.

  37. Anonymous  ::  3:01 am on November 24th, 2009:

    i think if you own a pet it is a duty to make sure it is safe and kept up to date with what treatments it needs.

  38. Anonymous  ::  12:52 am on November 30th, 2009:

    WE BELIEVE THE HAPPY ACT WOULD NOT ONLY HELP THE ECONOMY BUT ALSO SAVE THOUSANDS OF BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS WHOSE FATE IS AT RISK THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.THE LOVE AND DEVOTION OF THE PETS IS PRICELESS AND IS KNOWN TO EXTEND THE HEALTH AND LIFE OF BOTH PEOPLE AND THEIR PETS.

  39. Anonymous  ::  6:49 pm on December 2nd, 2009:

    As a pet owner of two wonderful dogs, I am also a Mother and my dogs are not better than my children. Not sure whose children you were thinking of when writing that statement, but you might consider adding “some” before the word children in the future.

  40. Anonymous  ::  7:54 pm on December 9th, 2009:

    “Why should taxpayers pay for your kids?”

    Because when they grow up they will be paying for your Social Security :)

  41. Anonymous  ::  7:57 pm on December 9th, 2009:

    “Why should I not get the same benefits for them as I would get for children?”

    Because they'll never produce anything, pay any taxes or support you when you get old.

  42. Anonymous  ::  7:59 pm on December 9th, 2009:

    “This will encourage people to keep their pets and allow others to adopt thereby creating more money.”

    A tax credit for animal adoption will solve the problem. And it will be a heck of a lot easier to document and police.

  43. Anonymous  ::  8:10 pm on December 9th, 2009:

    Oh my. So wrong. So very wrong…

    “Anyone who cannot see the benefits here is short-sighted” Translation: “everyone who disagrees with me is an idiot”. oh-kayyy.

    “As a pet owner I support a lot of industries” Not with other peoples money, you don't.

    “Obviously it would be quite simple to check the veracity…” – No it wouldn't. Are you required to report the death of a pet? So what is to stop you from claiming the tax deduction years after the animal has died? The bureaucracy required to properly police this will be prohibitive.

    “Your kid gets a SSN that you need to put on the tax form, what is to say you can't fraud that?” The IRS, that's who.

    “Also, if you do not get medical expenses as a tax deduction, get a new accountant”. Do the words “7% AGI” mean anything to you?

  44. Anonymous  ::  8:14 pm on December 9th, 2009:

    “Anyone opposed to this act has obviously never had to pay for cancer treatment for a beloved companion animal”

    Untrue. I loved the pets in my life… but I don't think that this act is a good idea. A tax credit for adopting shelter animals and tax-deductible of vet bills are two simple ways to solve the problem without needing a bill like this.

  45. Anonymous  ::  11:57 pm on December 9th, 2009:

    I agree! This is an absurd idea!

  46. Anonymous  ::  12:01 am on December 10th, 2009:

    So very true! I feel that this bill could mean even more dogs in a household and, therefore, more dogs left to bark outside, run loose, possibly biting people. I am tired of our fixation on dogs, in particular, and treating them as children. They are NOT children!

  47. Anonymous  ::  2:40 am on December 21st, 2009:

    This is the most ridiculous proposal I've ever heard. It's obviously a plot by radical animal rights nuts to get animals elevated to the status of human beings.

  48. Anonymous  ::  2:44 am on December 21st, 2009:

    And another thing, just because something is claimed to make people happy, doesn't mean it should be a tax write off. I like to rent movies; should that be tax deductable?
    Pets (especially dogs) actually cause a lot of problems and make neighbors unhappy. A barking dog is annoying, they bite millions of people a year, they poop all over the place…

  49. Anonymous  ::  6:26 pm on December 30th, 2009:

    I work in low income housing, and was formerly employed by an animal clinic. So not only did I witness the expenses of animal care and homeless animals in need of adoption, but now I experience the value of companionship that animals provide the elderly and disabled – people who cannot have children or who don't have families. People need animals, and animals need people. A bill like this will help people who normally couldn't afford their pets' expenses, especially in cases of emergency. Anyone who does not support this bill obviously doesn't understand the warmth and happiness that animals can bring to our lives, and perhaps it is those people who are the loneliest of all.

  50. Anonymous  ::  1:08 am on August 4th, 2010:

    Like so much else, this can be viewed in the extreme. There are certainly good points mentioned here, (brocolli not being one of them). A tax break for neutering/spaying, perhaps for service dogs, and for the special good they do for senior citizens and shut-ins, all are real considerations. Have fun with the children vs. pets discussion, but remember, there are a lot of children whose lives are changed for the good by their pets; and the benefit they give to seniors is important. Some sensible thought on this topic doesn't seem out of place to me.

  51. Anonymous  ::  2:59 pm on August 14th, 2010:

    I think this act is brilliant!! I own 2 dogs and welcome any legislation that will save me money

  52. Anonymous  ::  7:08 pm on August 14th, 2010:

    There is documented proof that pet ownership has health benefits. There is also a new strain on animal shelters due to the economy. Maybe a tax break would be offset by reduced medical costs for owners and fewer surrenders to shelters by owners because of economic strain. Just a thought…

  53. Anonymous  ::  8:06 am on August 16th, 2010:

    According to a one-year study that was reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1990), individuals who owned reported fewer doctor contacts than respondents who did not own. Furthermore, stress levels were much lower with owner population as compared to people that don't own. The study ultimately concluded that healthy elder care was connected to owning domesticated animals.
    That's a good excuse for tax reduction.

  54. Anonymous  ::  4:04 pm on October 4th, 2010:

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  55. Anonymous  ::  2:11 pm on October 21st, 2010:

    That is also a good suggestion.. for having free web pages on this site about tax or any topic..

  56. J robinson  ::  6:09 pm on January 12th, 2011:

    This is a great idea. We have to therapy dogs and spend a great deal on vet bills and general care of the dogs.

  57. Connie  ::  11:57 pm on February 3rd, 2011:

    Is this Bill dead? Do we stand a chance to get this much needed pet health tax deduction? Thank you!

  58. Dixie  ::  7:19 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    How do we get this bill passed. I have 12 dogs all spayed & neutered. Very costly. I lost a dog to bloat at a cost of $7,000.00, again very costly. I love my dogs more than any human any time. Let’s get this bill passed or noticed ASAP.

  59. Dixie  ::  7:23 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    You obviously have no heart & do not own a pet otherwise you would’nt make such a stupid comment. Its the human behind the pet that always causes the problem.

  60. Dixie  ::  7:25 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    That’s right. they are not children. They are a million times better than children. They do’nt grow up to call you names that’s for sure.

  61. Dixie  ::  7:28 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    You are sooooooooooooo very right!

  62. Dixie  ::  7:29 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    Yes.

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