- Days left
Here in tax-strapped California, Arnold and the legislature are thinking of all types of ways to balance the budget. One way is to increase taxes, of course. Now a "luxury" tax on golf course fees, sporting events and trips to Disneyland, I can sort of understand; those do seem like non-essential budget items during these times.

But a tax on veterinary care?

California's pet owners and animal doctors are up in arms about a suggested tax of 9% on all vet bills. My husband and I have three cats and a dog, so the vet bills can add up if any of them get into a fight with the dog next door, but it's not like we're the pet version of Nadya Suleman (who, by the way, is now taking donations via PayPal on her Web site). Why should pets be put into the same taxable category as greens fees and amusement park tickets? I think I speak for many pet owners when I say that Fluffy, Bow Wow and Kitty are family members, not luxury items.

The worst fear is that if this bill passes, say opponents, more pet owners will have no choice but to abandon or euthanize their pets. And with the recession in full force, more animal shelters are overwhelmed, adoption rates are down, and more animals are being dumped by the side of the road by families who can't look after them. Last year, I was living near Bakersfield, California, which has one of the country's highest home foreclosure rates. The reason I now have three cats is because my neighbors two doors down lost their house so they packed up the car in the middle of the night and drove away -- leaving two dogs, two cats and some newborn kittens behind.
Three of the kittens came to our house looking for food; the others were picked up by Animal Control. A year later, I can't imagine life without them. Abandoning them is as unthinkable as leaving any human member of my family to struggle for help. On an upbeat note, Amy Benfer at Salon.com reports that while animal shelters in foreclosure-heavy states are seeing more activity, areas in the Northeast, West Coast and Midwest are seeing record rates of pet adoptions.

"Some shelters in Vermont and New Hampshire have seen such an increased demand for pets that they've had to import animals from shelters in places like Kentucky and Tennessee."

Like many states, California is in a major hole. The Department of Finance says it's not attempting to single out any one service as it tries to close a $41 billion budget gap. But if you're a California pet owner and the vet tax raises your hackles, you can join forces with the California Veterinary Medical Association, which is urging people to call Arnold in Sacramento and voice their opinion over the phone. You can do that, even if you're for the tax.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

What is IRS Form 8824: Like-Kind Exchange

Ordinarily, when you sell something for more than what you paid to get it, you have a capital gain; when you sell it for less than what you paid, you have a capital loss. Both can affect your taxes. But if you immediately buy a similar property to replace the one you sold, the tax code calls that a "like-kind exchange," and it lets you delay some or all of the tax effects. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Form 8824 for like-kind exchanges.

What are ABLE Accounts? Tax Benefits Explained

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts allow the families of disabled young people to set aside money for their care in a way that earns special tax benefits. ABLE accounts work much like the so-called 529 accounts that families can use to save money for education; in fact, an ABLE account is really a special kind of 529.

What is IRS Form 8829: Expenses for Business Use of Your Home

One of the many benefits of working at home is that you can deduct legitimate expenses from your taxes. The downside is that since home office tax deductions are so easily abused, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tends to scrutinize them more closely than other parts of your tax return. However, if you are able to substantiate your home office deductions, you shouldn't be afraid to claim them. IRS Form 8829 helps you determine what you can and cannot claim.

What is IRS Form 8859: Carryforward of D.C. First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Form 8859 is a tax form that will never be used by the majority of taxpayers. However, if you live in the District of Columbia (D.C.), it could be the key to saving thousands of dollars on your taxes. While many first-time home purchasers in D.C. are entitled to a federal tax credit, Form 8859 calculates the amount of carry-forward credit you can use in future years, not the amount of your initial tax credit.

What is IRS Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the power to seize income tax refunds when a taxpayer owes certain debts, such as unpaid taxes or overdue child support. Sometimes, a married couple's joint tax refund will be seized because of a debt for which only one spouse is responsible. When that happens, the other spouse is said to be "injured" and can file Form 8379 to get at least some of the refund.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum