How NOT to Get Your Tax Question Answered

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It’s tax time and we’ve had a big new law put in place. You may be wondering what on earth to do about a couple of things on your return. What happened to that deduction you’ve always used in the past? How do you claim your exemptions? What can you deduct on your business?

That’s just a few of the questions that may come up for you.

Here’s what NOT to do if you have tax question.

Call the IRS?

If you call the IRS, they’re going to tell you to talk to a tax professional. That is, if you can get them to answer the phone. They are dealing with an under staffed work force, a new tax law with a lot of uncertainty and playing catch-up after the government shut down.

Conclusion: Do NOT call the IRS unless it is in regard to a notice you have received. And then, they don’t want you to call. They want you to fax or write.

Ask on social media?

I’m amazed that this is even done. Yet, I see it all the time. I know who most of the people are who are credible, actual experts. And they are NOT the people answering. It’s random people who may or may not have the knowledge and experience (probably not) and maybe who are just pulling your chain for a joke.

Conclusion: Do NOT ask trolls for tax advice. And at this point, assume anyone you don’t know on social media is a troll.

Ask someone you respect?

Maybe. It depends on what you respect them for. I respected my grandmother to make awesome pickles, but I would never ask her for tax advice. (She also didn’t speak English, so there is that too.) I respect my neighbor who grows beautiful flowers, but I would never ask him how to audit proof my tax return.

Conclusion: Ask someone you respect who is an expert in the field you need.

Get free advice?

Oh, the most popular answer of all. Don’t pay a consultant. Get free advice. Which is all fine and dandy until you discover the answer is wrong and you’re in a real pickle.

Conclusion: Free advice may be the most expensive advice you ever get.

The real answer is to ask someone who has the experience and training to give you the best answer. AND find someone who gets to know you before providing an answer. That means they’ll ask a lot of questions about where you are now and where you want to be. You may not like the path they choose. The question is are you looking for someone to go along with your decision, even if it’s wrong, or do you want to find someone who will help you make the right choices.

You can find people who will do either. The next step is up to you. Whose advice are you going to take?

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