Okay, I get that tax season isn’t fun for everybody. But I happen to enjoy it. It’s like the Super Bowl of my profession. Only without the cool halftime show.

Despite the fact that I won’t be helicoptering anyone into your living room come April 15, I do have a lot of exciting things coming up. I’m following up last year’s fantastically popular Contestapalooza this year – and it’s starting even earlier. Be sure and stop by tomorrow for the first of a number of fun giveaways throughout the season.

In addition to contests and giveaways, I’m hoping to do some fun segments through the season. I will be adding some podcasts and we’ll definitely be doing at least one “ask the taxgirl LIVE” feature.

Speaking of “ask the taxgirl”, this year, as every year, I’ll be answering questions more often, sometimes a couple a day through April 15. Just so there’s no confusion, I wanted to post the slightly revised guidelines from last year:

  1. This is my busy season which means that I get lots of emails about this time. I read every single one and trust me, sometimes that can take a while.
  2. I make the decision to post an “ask the taxgirl” question based on a bunch of things – there’s no “magic bullet” that will assure that your question gets answered first. For example, I consider the number of similarly-themed questions; if I notice a pattern, I’ll try and address that issue quickly. I think about the time of year: planning questions tend to be answered at the end of the year while prep questions may be answered closer to tax day. I also take in mind the nature of your question and whether it will benefit or interest lots of readers.
  3. Your question may be too broad – or too specific. I have honestly received questions like “Which state should I file in?” without another word. In contrast, I’ve gotten questions that include absolutely every detail, down to familial histories. Fill me in on the details and state your question plainly without giving me too much information. I don’t need your favorite drink or the name of your pet. I understand that you might fear that you’re leaving something out but don’t worry – if it’s just a little piece of info and I think I’ll need it, I’ll ask you.
  4. I can’t contact the IRS for you. I’ve been asked to call the IRS and find out where rebate checks are, why refunds aren’t what they were promised, why a return wasn’t accepted as filed. Even if I wanted to, I can’t. The IRS won’t allow it unless I represent you (which I don’t unless you have a representation letter from me) and you sign a piece of paper authorizing the IRS to give me the information. So please don’t ask. And goodness knows, don’t send me your personal information, like your Social Security number. Honestly, I’m a good person. But you shouldn’t take such risks. It’s scary.
  5. I rarely answer specific state or local tax questions. I just can’t. As much as I’d love to help – and I would – I just don’t know the specific property tax laws in Petaluma or the sales tax rules in Peoria.
  6. I have a spam filter. I have to. Mostly because of, well, you know, evil spammers. My spam filter will almost always dump your email into spam if your email doesn’t have a subject. Try including a word or two in the subject to tell me what your question is about, like “duplicate 1099-MISC” or “homebuyer’s credit question” – it will help make sure that the emails end up where they need to be. Make sure that you send it to the right address (askthetaxgirl (at) taxgirl (dot) com), too. You can also post on Facebook or ask me on twitter.
  7. If you’re actually sitting in an audit (or jail) or if federal agents are banging on your door, I can’t stress enough how much you need to find yourself a good tax professional right now. Run, do not walk, to the phone and call someone to help you. Do not stop to log onto your computer and ask me a question. I’m good but I’m not that good.

I know, I know you’re excited already. Ok, I’m excited already. But keep checking in, you’ll get there.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.


  1. Taxgirl, you amaze me. I’m hunkering down as tax season approaches (literally; it’s snowing outside my home office, 5-6″ today in Ohio) and here you are celebrating and offering to answer emails. Good for you!

  2. I’m not even a practicing tax attorney (yet)–I was just a tax class addict in law school–but even I think it’s a wonderful time of year! Keep celebrating!

  3. Wayne Phillips Reply

    Well done! Great boundaries if folks take the time to read them. Know you have loads on the plate, and many balls in the air, but your humor and talent shows through.

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