I have PTSD from Afghanistan – are the expenses for my service dog tax deductible in Germany?

We have a great number of American clients who – due to their time in the US Military and corresponding deployments – suffer from some sort of posttraumatic stress. It is not very surprising when you consider the environment – high-stress, high tempo, contact, shelling, constant fear… not to mention worse.

Yet, many of these brave men and women still get out of bed every morning and go to work. Sometimes it is a pet that helps them function better in their daily work environment. Obviously, the question arises if this animal could be somehow be considered for tax purposes. While small critters do not come really with much expense, usually a service dog will. The money for food, the vet, blankets, toys, and sometimes ongoing training easily racks up into thousands of Euros.

Since the service dog or other service animal obviously is a means to continue staying functional at work so expenses need to be considered as job-related expense as well. The question though is, how do you show that it is job-related? We recommend that you have the three following documents:

  • A doctor’s note saying that a service or support animal/dog is needed to stay functional at work (!). When it only helps you stay functional in life in general a tax office will dismiss the expense as private.
  • A certificate showing that your animal is a service or support animal. The certificate can be from the US as well – we understand those documents are much more easily obtainable.
  • A note from your employer allowing you to bring the service/support animal to work to stay functional.

Since there is no limitation as to which animal qualifies, technically speaking you can have a service hamster just as much as a service horse. However, as said above, the expenses for a hamster most likely tend to stay fairly irrelevant, while the fairly relevant expense for a horse is harder to justify – or how would you justify that the horse you have a home helps you at work? Yes, it is possible (if you work from home or as a horse artist), but we trust you understand what we are trying to say here.

Overall, we are comfortable to consider your service pet expenses as a job-related tax deduction at least partially, if there is reasonable documentation and justification.

Please let us know if this is an area where you feel like you have expenses, but do not know how to best address the issue on your tax return.

service dog

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