Ask The Taxgirl

My inbox is always chock full of Ask The Taxgirl® emails. While I can’t answer every question, I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible. Here are a few tips to make sure that your email gets the best attention:

  1. I get a lot of emails and I read every single one. I’m not ignoring you but yours is also not the only email I’ll get today. Or tomorrow. Or next week. So please be patient. (Sending a follow-up email suggesting that I’m a terrible person for not answering your question immediately does not get you moved to the front of the line: I would think that would be obvious but clearly, it’s not.)
  2. I consider a lot of factors when I choose a question to post. If I notice a similar bunch of questions, I’ll try to answer those first. I also think about the timeliness: if something is making headlines now or affects tax filing, I’m likely to post that before a more general question.
  3. Consider how much information is necessary. I do get questions like “Should I file Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately?” without another word. I’ve also gotten questions that include absolutely every detail, down to a list of dependents. I don’t need your shoe size or your mother’s maiden name. I get that you might fear that you’re leaving something out but don’t worry – if I think I’ll need more details, I’ll ask you.
  4. I won’t call the IRS and find out where your rebate checks are, why your refund isn’t what you expected, or why your return wasn’t accepted as filed. Notwithstanding that I can’t do those things anyway without a Power of Attorney, I’m not your tax attorney unless you have a representation letter from me. So please don’t ask. And don’t send me personal information like your Social Security number out of the blue. Honestly, I’m a good person – just ask my mother. But you shouldn’t take such risks with anyone you don’t know. It’s scary.
  5. I will not redact or edit your question. Be careful with details since your question may be posted on the site. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your mother – or mine – to see, and do not include personally identifiable information (PII) like your phone number or Social Security number (see again #4).
  6. Please don’t call and leave your question on my voice mail. I will not call you back.
  7. I rarely answer 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.
  8. Please put the subject of your question in the subject line of your email. 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 “mortgage interest question” or “I don’t have my 1099: – it will help make sure that the emails end up where they need to be.
  9. If you’re actually sitting in an audit, or you’re in a closet while the feds bang on your door, I can’t stress enough how much you need to put down the computer and find yourself a good tax professional right now. Run, do not walk, to the phones and call someone to help you.
  10. I like to talk about being a tax attorney. You can ask questions about that. But don’t ask me for a job, an internship, a reference, or a letter for your mother. I won’t answer you.
  11. If you think you’re being clever by sending your advertisement/promotion/tax treatise/election propaganda wrapped up in the guise of a question, you’re not. You’re just annoying. And rude.
  12. I love answering your questions. I really do. It’s why I do it. But I’m a writer and a lawyer, not a miracle worker. I’m also not a marriage counselor, doctor, or investment advisor. So ask accordingly. You can see my disclaimer here.
  13. I reserve the right to add more caveats – that’s what lawyers do – as we go along, so check back often.

With all of that in mind, ask away! Note that, to protect your privacy, I prefer that you ask questions via email.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. HR Block has LOST my tax documents and refuses and help or resolution. My taxes have not been filed, documents are lost and HR BLOCK resolution team does not provide assistance for their error. I have been calling for a month and my calls are constantly ignored and now My calls are disconnected.

  2. Beckie Jo Hebert Reply

    My husband and I are still married but haven’t lived together and I don’t know where he is. Come to find out he isn’t paying his federal tax. I’m stuck with all the other bills and have no money to pay it what can I do

  3. Taxgirl.

    Regarding the $10k SALT cap… We currently own 2 homes, one in NJ (primary) and one in PA (summer home). We do not rent either. My NJ taxes are $8800, my PA taxes are $3800. Am I still capped at the $10k or is it $10k per property?

  4. Thanks for your Forbes article with the sneak preview 1040 for 2020. In the article you said “this form could look a lot different in the final version.” When does your crystal ball say we get the final version?

    • Depending on what you’re looking for, some of the updated forms and schedules for 2020 are now on the IRS website.

  5. My wife received a corrected W2 from her ex-employer. We have already filed and received our tax return. The federal income tax withheld and the medicare were incorrect. What forms do we need to complete, and how are these forms to be returned – paper or electronically

  6. My former enrolled agent made mistakes on my previous 4 tax returns for tax years 2018 and 2019. He overstated my income for >18% which caused me overpaid my tax, penalties, overpaid quarterly payments, and not qualified for stimulus checks. Now, his firm doesn’t want to amend them. They only wanted to return all my tax filing fees and move on. My question is are they responsible to pay me any IRS penalties plus interest? What are my rights as a taxpayer in this incident?

    • It’s difficult to answer because I’m not sure how the error happened or what kind of dollars are involved. My guess is that there’s a dispute about how it happened since they returned your fees but refused to amend.
      That said, if it was solely the fault of the preparer, they should have insurance to handle damages from errors, including, potentially the penalties and interest. Fighting them on it, however, could be costly, depending on how much money is involved. If it wasn’t your fault, your new preparer may be able to get the penalties abated which could be a faster, cheaper option. I would encourage you to talk to the new preparer about it.

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content