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California: BOE Supports Tax Breaks for Pet Owners


 California wants your pets to get good, affordable, health care.

Dog owners know that their dog is a full member of the family. Cat owners feel the same (while recognizing the inherent need for feline independence). When our pets fall ill, we want them to receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, as with human health care, pet heath care is expensive--and sometimes decisions are swayed by fiscal concerns.

A State Board of Equalization want to reduce those costs by exempting from sales and use taxes many medications used in the treatment of animals, provided those medications are prescribed and administered by a licensed veterinarian. Veterinarians are currently required to pay sales or use tax on purchases of both drugs and medicines, and those costs are passed on to the consumer. The exemption would eliminate that extra cost.

Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), the sponsor of the bill, has clearly loved a pet or two. Speaking about Senate Bill 688, she said,

"I agreed to author this important legislation to make pet medical care more affordable and accessible. As a pet owner myself, I know how costly medical care for pets can be and this bill will provide savings to pet owners and encourage proper medical treatment for our pets."

BOE Chairman Jerome E. Horton strongly supports the measure, noting that the exemption would "negate any perceived deal pet owners believe they might be getting by purchasing prescriptions for their pets online, where the safety of their pets might be compromised." The entire board is also behind the legislation.

SB 688 is scheduled to be discussed by the Senate Appropriations Committee today, May 23, 2013.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.