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four legged assistant

client has a dog

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sole trader client has bought a dog - he's a pyshcologist (the client not the dog!)

they have advised its to help with client treatments, they have capitalised the cost of the dog in their fixed asets and put all dog costs through the books

the client operate out of a city cente office, but the dog goes home with the client

in essence it looks like a pet, but i just want to check I'm not missing something and barking up the wrong tree

Replies (48)

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By BIG123
11th Jan 2020 09:21

I did do the accounts for a Care Home that had a dog 'on the staff'. All expenses were recovered!!

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By paul.benny
11th Jan 2020 10:34

Is there evidence that the dog is genuinely part the psychiatrist's therapies? If so, why should it be treated as a pet? In fact, the psychiatrist has expenses associated with taking the dog home outside office hours.

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Replying to paul.benny:
RLI
By lionofludesch
11th Jan 2020 11:25

Quote:

Is there evidence that the dog is genuinely part the psychiatrist's therapies? If so, why should it be treated as a pet? In fact, the psychiatrist has expenses associated with taking the dog home outside office hours.

He's not a psychiatrist.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Accountant A
11th Jan 2020 12:30

Quote:

He's not a psychiatrist.

Correct. "he's a pyshcologist", whatever one of those is!

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Replying to Accountant A:
RLI
By lionofludesch
11th Jan 2020 13:39

Quote:

Quote:

He's not a psychiatrist.

Correct. "he's a pyshcologist", whatever one of those is!

Someone who talks pysh.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Accountant A
11th Jan 2020 16:13

Quote:

Someone who talks pysh.

Underestimated comment that!!

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Replying to Accountant A:
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By gillybean04
16th Jan 2020 09:50

The difference is that a psychiatrist can prescribe medication. A psychologist can't. Other than that, they're the same (more or less).

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Replying to gillybean04:
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By lionofludesch
16th Jan 2020 10:09

What about a pyshcologist ?

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By lesley.barnes
11th Jan 2020 10:40

No your not barking up the wrong tree. Unless the dog has hidden talents I would say that it might help relax the clients and help start a conversation but is it necessary for what your client does? How did he manage before buying the dog?He would still incur the costs for food, insurance etc if he left it at home rather than took it to work.

My dog puts clients at ease when they come to review their tax returns, demands treats, goes back to sleep and barks at them when they go to leave. I'm not sure if he's a help or hindrance. Come to think of it do I have to declare all the treats he gets as extra income on my tax return? Can I claim his £250 a month medication bill?

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Replying to lesley.barnes:
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By lionofludesch
11th Jan 2020 11:03

Quote:
Unless the dog has hidden talents I would say that it might help relax the clients and help start a conversation but is it necessary for what your client does? How did he manage before buying the dog?

He's a sole trader. "Necessary" doesn't come in to it.

Wholly and exclusively does though.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
11th Jan 2020 11:00

Pysh-cologist - well, it made me laugh anyway.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By sammerchant
17th Jan 2020 11:11

To adapt the words of the immortal Eric Morecambe, it's all the right letters, not necessarily in the right order!

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By Paul Kolovski
11th Jan 2020 11:07

There is a wealth of evidence regarding the theraputic benefits of dogs. Our local hospital regularly has therapy dogs in the entrance area, the care home my mother is in has weekly visits by therapy dogs, and a quick google search will provide you with numerous links to a vast number of organisations and expert medical reports all supporting the valuable contribution made to mental health by dogs.

As regards your client taking the dog home with him, what else is he supposed to do with it?

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By Cloudcounter
11th Jan 2020 11:17

I have a client with a trained therapy dog. She's a counsellor and I have no issues with putting the costs of the dog as a business expense. Of course the dog lives with her. As pointed out above where else would it live - get it booked into kennels every night?

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Replying to Cloudcounter:
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By lionofludesch
11th Jan 2020 11:21

Quote:

I have a client with a trained therapy dog.

What if the dog isn't a trained therapy dog ?

More background details needed.

If it were me, I'd be happy to stick the dog costs into the accounts if the client could justify it. But not if he couldn't.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Paul Kolovski
11th Jan 2020 16:00

There is no training needed. So long as therapy dogs are well behaved & friendly, as opposed to tearing limbs off clients, then their mere presence is theraputic as proven by numerous studies and accepted by virtually all western health bodies.

Several Health Authorities, such as Nottingham, now run their own therapy dogs schemes rather than using outside charities and the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham almost always has therapy dogs wandering around. Derby uses a third party charity to provide the same service, and a recent TV news item recently showed a stroke patient in Leicester who had lost the use of his arm following a stroke move his "paralysed" arm for the first time to reach out to a visiting therapy dog.

Therapy dogs are recognised in law as having the same protections and rights as guide dogs etc.

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By JDBENJAMIN
11th Jan 2020 12:00

This is obviously your client trying it on. You should disallow it, and cease to act if the client refuses to accept the disallowance.

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Replying to JDBENJAMIN:
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By lionofludesch
11th Jan 2020 13:40

Quote:

This is obviously your client trying it on. You should disallow it, and cease to act if the client refuses to accept the disallowance.

Rubbish !

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By Roland195
11th Jan 2020 12:58

I'm not sure if this happens in the UK yet but the US are inundated with services that will certify whatever beastie you care to name as a trained, approved, certified emotional support animal complete with vest for it, badge for your car and a certificate to show airlines, shop staff who object.

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Replying to Roland195:
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By Paul Kolovski
11th Jan 2020 16:11

I am aware of properly certified and genuine therapy dogs, cats, minature horses, donkeys, and alpacas, and they all do genuinely work as therapy animals. I myself have a service dog without which I could not function.

Quite rightly there have been several court cases recently against taxi drivers and the like who have illegally discriminated, particularly against guide dogs, by refusing to carry them in their cabs using all sorts of lame excuses. The courts are clamping down hard on such discrimination and not before time.

Financially, there is a cafe near us that is dog friendly and allows dogs into it's premises, they are making a fortune, it's always crowded, and because it's full of dog lovers everyone there is friendly and decent.

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Replying to Paul Kolovski:
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By lincolnartist
12th Jan 2020 00:22

Never mind the hygiene though, eh?

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Replying to lincolnartist:
By slipknot08
14th Jan 2020 11:32

I'd happily sit in a cafe or pub with dogs.

If on the other hand, I walk in and see people letting their ghastly, badly behaved children run around putting their awful slimey fingers over everything (or - both true stories - (1) parents changing nappies in the cafe, not the loo, or (2) putting a child's potty ON THE TABLE so it could perform), I would avoid like the very literal plague I'd be likely to catch.

Dogs are sweet, adorable, much quieter, and considerably cleaner than children. Sort yourself out.

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Replying to slipknot08:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
14th Jan 2020 11:46

Reminds me of a true story from my younger days back in circa 1982 , when I was still at university I worked as a barman in a family owned small Edinburgh hotel. The hotel got taken over by an Italian family and the nephew who worked behind the bar alongside me ,whilst speaking English, did not have it as his first language.

One day a lady came into the lounge and asked him if it was okay if she brought her toddler in, he replied that it would be fine provided she kept it on a lead.

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Replying to slipknot08:
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By meadowsaw227
14th Jan 2020 12:43

One of my life rules is that I have nothing in my house that you can not train to not either lick or wipe its 4rse on my floor .

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Replying to meadowsaw227:
By slipknot08
14th Jan 2020 16:49

That's so sad. They bring so much joy.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
11th Jan 2020 15:34

Wonder if Pavlov had these sorts of issues with his pooch?

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By lesley.barnes
12th Jan 2020 09:53

Sadly the anon poster hasn't come back and told us how the dog helps in the clients treatments so we can only bark up the right or wrong tree as well. I find it so frustrating when there is an interesting debate but everyone participating is left to speculate because the poster doesn't come back with additional information.

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By adam.arca
12th Jan 2020 11:47

Well, it makes a change from clients claiming the chihuahua as a guard dog.

I'm actually prepared to believe there might be a therapeutic side to this and that the claim might have legs (ha, ha). But the fact Muttley goes home with the owner and presumably provides therapeutic benefit to the owner's family surely suggests a significant private use addback?

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Replying to Paul Kolovski:
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By lesley.barnes
12th Jan 2020 14:41

I don't think people are arguing that therapy dogs are not a valuable resource. The problem with this thread is that the anon has not come back to clarify this dog is a therapy dog. It is described as "helping with client treatments" We actually don't know what this comprises of and the questioner doesn't seem to want to enlighten us.

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Replying to lesley.barnes:
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By Tax Dragon
12th Jan 2020 15:06

Indeed. Anybody that has formed a definite opinion for or against allowability, based on the miniscule amount the OP has told us, could do with reflecting on their prejudices.

(One of my own: no relief if it's a Doberman Pinscher.... and even in saying that I'm making an assumption - that the business is unincorporated.)

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Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
13th Jan 2020 09:34

I'm coming out in support of my canine brethren!

Of course the cost is tax deductible. The OP suggests that the costs are to help with client treatment, and assuming that is true, then I see no problem. There are plenty of places you can look to see that using dogs in this way is genuine.

As for the suggestion there should be "private use" on a living being. You speciests make me sick. Us canines are living beings just like you "two legs", and much better behaved for that matter. The fact we choose to work with you doesn't mean you own us. When you start keeping your other employees in a dark office all night then you can think about doing it to us!

GRRR!

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By SXGuy
13th Jan 2020 10:43

Surprised at the level of ignorance in this thread.

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Richard Hattersley
By Richard Hattersley
14th Jan 2020 14:45

Hi all,

Your friendly neighbourhood moderator here. Just to let you know that a number of comments have been removed from this thread as they went way off topic.

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Replying to Richard Hattersley:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
14th Jan 2020 14:55

Quote:

Hi all,

a number of comments have been removed from this thread as they went way off topic.


Blimey - half the thread has disappeared! But thanks for tidying this up - it was getting a little tiresome.
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By duncanphilpstate
14th Jan 2020 21:10

I find this an interesting discussion to stumble into because my wife is a counsellor therapist who sometimes uses our two Cavaliers with clients. Not all clients, just some. The majority of the time the dogs are family pets, sleeping on the sofa, waiting for walkies and begging for food.

Up to now I've persuaded her that the proportion of their time assisting in the business is miniscule compared to being pets and a reasonable deduction isn't worth the effort. I'd never thought of trying for their entire existence as to my mind it's cheeky and a bad use of potential goodwill with HMRC.

On the other hand, when she uses a horse (borrowed) for equine therapy, those costs go in the books so I may not be totally consistent. Although, the horse is not allowed on the sofa, so there are distinguishing circumstances.

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Replying to duncanphilpstate:
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By Tax Dragon
16th Jan 2020 10:36

The distinguishing circumstance for tax is 'purpose'.

You have the dogs as pets and occasionally they help at work. They're pets and the purpose of your costs of maintaining them arises because they are pets. Hire a horse to help and cost is for the purpose of the business.

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By Monty Cristo
16th Jan 2020 23:30

The main UK organisation for certifying pets for therapy work is 'Pets as Therapy'. Dogs have a rigorous assessment to qualify to be allowed to do the work (one of ours has qualified, and occasionally does voluntary visits). If the dog's qualified and registered with them, it adds a lot of credibility to its professional role.

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By paddy55
17th Jan 2020 12:06

A dog is capable of ownership. Many psychologists use dogs as patient therapy these days. Dogs have a life of approx. 15 years. Owning a therapy dog is similar to owning a work-horse.
I would suggest a) capitalising the cost of the dog, b) depreciating it over 15 years. c) claiming running expenses such as food, medical attention, kennel costs etc and d) claiming the business percentage e.g. 80%

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Replying to paddy55:
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By lionofludesch
17th Jan 2020 12:13

Quote:
.... b) depreciating it over 15 years....

Is it a pup ?

Big assumption in there.

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By pauljohnston
17th Jan 2020 12:15

It is down to the client and I suspect if treated as a fixed asset HMRC will treat it as it does the others.

If the cient is self employed there has to be in my opinion private and business use so there is need of a reduction for the persnal element

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Replying to pauljohnston:
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By lionofludesch
17th Jan 2020 12:33

Quote:

If the client is self employed there has to be in my opinion private and business use so there is need of a reduction for the personal element

The purpose of the expenditure is all important. If this is some trained therapy dog, it would strengthen the case for a 100% claim.

I disagree that a private proportion is obligatory. But we have insufficient facts.

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By David Gordon FCCA
17th Jan 2020 12:26

Working dogs are allowable.
I have a valued client who amongst other patients, assists service personnel with PTSD.
Working dogs are recognised as valuable therapy.

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By Nebs
17th Jan 2020 13:02

Why has it been put in Fixed Assets. My experience of dogs would suggest it goes in Long Term Liabilities.

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By CMPACDGDB
17th Jan 2020 13:12

So, not so seriously, shouldn't it be "fur legged assistant"?
Seriously; psychologists aren't medically qualified i.e. are laymen in medicine. Psychiatrists are medically qualified and can detect abnormal thoughts due to treatable disease such as diabetes, poisoning, vitamin deficiencies, etc.
The dog's qualifications seem a bit (sorry) wooly....

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By [email protected]
19th Jan 2020 17:50

I trained my parrot to say "Who is it"? when a client rings the doorbell. I doubt the bird seed is tax deductible.

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Replying to [email protected]:
RLI
By lionofludesch
20th Jan 2020 12:46

Quote:

I trained my parrot to say "Who is it"? when a client rings the doorbell. I doubt the bird seed is tax deductible.

Drawing a parallel with an outlandish and bizarre scenario doesn't help.

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By ShayaG
20th Jan 2020 12:36

In recognition of the working status of dogs, vat on working dog food is zero rated. Dogs are recognised as a business asset in thousands of businesses up and down the land. I have a client with two rather horrible doberman guard dogs patrolling commercial premises on the balance sheet (pets they most certainly are not - a visit to the premises needs to be coordinated carefully in advance!)

IMO this isn't trying it on and I would allow the claim.

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By David Gordon FCCA
21st Jan 2020 13:12

Some of the comments seen appear to indicate that the writers, to put it kindly, have no experience whatever of working dogs.
Building sites, farms, shops, care homes, police dogs, nurseries.

To name just a few, the dog(s) are an integral working valuable part of the business.

Even accountants' offices. When at one time, for various reasons my secretary was nervous of being left alone in the office, the dog solved the problem. Job done! unwanted callers gone.

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