The Department for Fair Trading ( DFT ) would have you believe the answer is no. While the word ‘welfare’ is frequently used by the DFT to describe the tax-free benefits paid to dogs by their owners for their presence – such as free food, water, veterinary care and even dog grooming – this does not, in practice, mean that they are “service” or “income-enriching” expenses.
According to the most comprehensive guide to dog walking by a professional, A Dog Walkers’ Guide. This guide, authored by a professional dog walker, Dr. Jennifer Gaskins, outlines common reasons dogwalkers claim to be worth thousands of pounds to them (including the income they produce from the money they make walking) in its own terms. However, the Gaskins’ guide is also clear in one regard: Dog walking is not a taxable business, even by the “low tax” and “low expenses”.
“As the dog walkers use their walks in a manner that is intended to be for public benefit, not commercial gain, they are entitled to a tax-free allowance.”
A more recent guide by the TaxPayers’ Alliance states explicitly that even if the dog walking does in fact “earn[s] any money”, the tax deducted from the payment is only paid by the dog walker if she or he has “gross receipts from the service”. So it’s worth mentioning that it’s only the revenue-earning activities from the dog walking that can be offset against a family’s household bill if one is in receipt of child benefit, a mortgage benefit or some other benefit – although some do call it “income-enhancing” when the child benefit is applied.
In summary, the best source for “income-enriching” business expenses to take note of is those where the amount involved is “gross”; ie – it’s the full amount of cost that is paid at the end of the day. The key difference is that, if the total amount of cost incurred in a tax-free way is greater than the number of customers that it covers, the tax is taken and is deducted on the day. It is the number of customers that it covers, whether it be for free, by a small fee or a price, that counts!
For a full explanation (for every kind of pet business) of how tax on income can affect your bank account, visit my Tax Calculator or read Why does my council tax bill sometimes
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