State Advocacy Issue

 Fact Sheet - Sales Tax on Veterinary Services

In this weak economy, animal owners are already making tough choices. Adding sales tax to veterinary services will force owners to make difficult choices about the health and welfare of their pets.

Pets are members of the family and an important source of companionship. This proposed tax could add approximately 9% to the cost of veterinary care. The result will be that many animals won't get the medical care they need and they will be abandoned or euthanized.

Shelter populations are increasing beyond capacity as many Californians lose their homes to foreclosure. If people can't afford to take care of their pets, they may be forced to abandon them to shelters, adding to the overcrowding and financial strain.

More than 800,000 cats and dogs enter California shelters every year at a cost to taxpayers of $275 million. As shelters become filled beyond capacity, more healthy animals will be euthanized adding to the emotional strain of shelter workers.

The public health and safety will be at risk. Veterinary care is essential to protecting the public from zoonotic diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis.

Food production animals require veterinary care. A lack of proper care would affect the public health. Also, a sales tax on veterinary services will increase the cost of food production which will ultimately be passed on to consumers further adding to the already high cost of food.

Veterinary medical care shouldn't be taxed any differently than human medical care.

Veterinarians are clearly health care professionals and are subject to many of the same laws and regulations as other health care providers. Veterinary medicine should not be singled out for this tax.

It is an insult to the veterinary profession to compare veterinary medical services with appliance and furniture repair.

It's not right for our beloved pets to suffer because of the state's financial problems.

Source:  Prepared by California Veterinary Medical Association
Contact:  Adrian Hochstadt, Asst. Dir., State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, AVMA, 847-285-6780.