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Sales Tax Secrets: 5 Animal Taxes

Everybody loves animals. No matter how cold or shrunken your heart may be, there is at least some lizard, water bear, lemur, or keyboard-playing cat that will melt it and make you gush. I guarantee it. My soft spot tends to be for primates. It’s a natural consequence of majoring in anthropology and working in sales tax. Most tax rules are, after all, fairly specific to our order . . . but not quite all of them. Here’s a lineup of unusual suspects in animal tax facts:


Bonobos are our closest, cuddliest, most enthusiastic of relatives! While Bonobos the clothing brand may be the only exempt item related to these adorable bipeds, they’ve made the list on account of awesomeness. We’re pretty sure if you dressed one up, it might pass for human and definitely sure that the diapers a baby bonobo might wear are exempt in states that exempt clothing.


At times cows can be less enthusiastic than our primate friends. But aside from being prone to falling over when approached at night, cows do have a few things going on. For example, in Wisconsin, the purchase of cattle semen for the purpose of artificial insemination is exempt.


In Texas, food provided for ranch and farm animals as well as wild ones, whether to lure game or beautify one’s yard with hummingbirds, is considered exempt. That even includes nightcrawlers used as fishing bait. It does not include pets.

Parakeets, cats, and dogs

While these species--parakeets, cats, and dogs--may not be equal in your eyes, they are in the eyes of sales tax. In Washington D.C., regular pet food is exempt (Sec. 47-2001(g). D.C. Code), and that is described in same paragraph that details the exemption for human food. Maybe animals ARE people too?

    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.
    Avalara Author
    Christina Lengyel
    Avalara Author Christina Lengyel
    Christina Lengyel is a writer by trade and has found herself in taxes by way of research. As an analyst, she has tracked down thousands of products by UPC in order to determine when and where they are taxed.