Have a tax question? You can Ask The Taxgirl. Here’s what you need to know:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Please don’t call and leave your question on my voice mail. I will not call you back.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.