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Get your tax questions answered — free — and a giveaway

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Taxes are still confusing to me. So this year, I’m bringing in a tax expert to help answer questions from iwillteachyoutoberich readers. Plus, there’s a giveaway: 5 people who ask questions will get free tax software and their filing fees waived. This is a special deal for iwillteachyoutoberich readers.

Here’s the deal: David Bergstein is a CPA and tax analyst for CCH CompleteTax. He’ll be guest-posting a few times over the next month to answer any tax questions you have. David’s bio:

David Bergstein, CPA, has 40 years of experience in tax and accounting and is well known as a speaker and trainer in the field of utilizing new technology to improve the efficiency of operations in tax, accounting, practice management, and general operations of the accounting process.

Prior to joining CCH, he held various positions with the Internal Revenue Service and as an accounting professor. In addition to his work with CCH, Bergstein also continues to teach taxation and accounting as an adjunct professor at the college level and is an active volunteer with the IRS’ VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program where he teaches tax law.

In addition to being a CPA, he is a Certified Information Technology Professional, a credential granted by the AICPA, and holds a Masters of Science in Taxation. Bergstein also is a member of the Florida Institute of CPA’s (FICPA) Business Technology Section and the Accounting Education and Careers Committee.

Ask a tax question! This is your chance to get free tax advice from someone eminently qualified. If you don’t know where to start with your taxes, or you have an advanced question, ask it here (“How do I pay taxes if I’ve never done it before?” “What are the biggest mistakes people make?” “What should I put for the defaults, like dependents?”) He’ll take a look at the questions and answer the most important questions over the next few weeks.

Plus, 5 people will win CCH CompleteTax passes for state/federal tax return prep and filing. (Special thanks to Mary Jung for helping to coordinate this.)

Note: Your question is most likely to be answered if it’s general enough to be useful to other people.

[Update, 3/21/07]: Part 1 of David’s answers are online now.

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  1. I know that student loan interest deductions begin to be lowered on a graduated scale after you make over $50,000. However, I have heard that if you use your primary residence as collateral for your student loans, then you may be able to once again deduct your student loan interest in addition to your home mortgage interest deduction.

    Please advise…

  2. My questions are related to relocation. This is my first year filing my own taxes as well. What expenses are eligable to be deducted for relocation? And what if certain items are paid for via points (ie, hotel or airplane tickets)?

    Any help on these questions would be greatly appreicated! Thanks!

  3. I interned in California during the summer and worked on campus so I have to file state taxes for both DC and California. I have tried this like a million times but I always seem to get it wrong, what am I supposed to put regarding residency for both states. I was in California just for the summer and was in DC for the rest of the year.

    I am using TurboTax and I don’t understand the residency questions and it doesn’t even seem possible to input the data right. I started the year as a DC resident and ended in DC, was in California just for a while. Can you help me?

    I know this might not be general enough to help other people but I am hoping other people are having issues with residency or it’s a big enough problem that other people generally face

  4. I sold some stock this year, which had been on a dividend reinvestment plan. How do I handle this while filing my taxes online?

  5. Hi Ramit and David,

    I already filed my taxes, already got my refund. But then my MIL says, “Oh by the way, I have some of your tax forms here.” Uh Oh! She sends us the forms, and I enter it into our tax software. We owe $24 to the Feds and $16 to the state. Not a big deal, but how and when do I send them the money? There must be a special form for fixing a mistake like this, right?

  6. I own my own small business and work from an office in my home.

    Is it better to have my company pay me rent, or to take a home office deduction?

  7. Hi Ramit and David,

    I am Canadian so my question is specific to Canadian taxes: What is the best source for clear and helpful explanations for filling Canadian Income Taxes?


  8. I’d like the intern question answered as well (asked by Ola, comment #3).

    I live in CA but worked over the summer in TX and was not taxed on income while there. I still claim residency in CA so I’m wondering if I need to pay taxes on the income earned while in TX… thanks.

  9. My wife started a LLC last year which she operated at a loss. Would it be better to go ahead and do our taxes myself or take them to an accountant? If I go ahead and do them myself, are there any “gotchas” that I need to look out for pertaining to her business?

  10. I am a soon-to-be-college-graduate, and am already worried about my taxes.

    Last year, I filed my federal taxes without issue. My problem was when i tried to file my State taxes. Since I was in college and had temporary jobs, I had income from 3 different states (MI, IN, and CA). My income was pretty low for all of these states, and some of them were not available to file online. I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and effort to file my state taxes.

    Should I wait to file my current state taxes until I do my taxes from last year? Should I just forget about my state taxes from last year? What would the consequences be? Thanks for all of the help.

    This question won one of the CompleteTax codes!