Frequently Asked Questions

For the time being, I’m not maintaining a permanent office space. Instead, I’ve been meeting clients at a nearby coffee shop – typically Ford Food & Drink, at SE 11th & Division.


An explanation of billing rates is here.

(If you call me up and ask me how much I charge for tax preparation, I won’t be able to give you a firm answer until I know the details of your tax situation. But the Rates & Fees page linked to above will give you some examples.)


No. That said, if we sit down for 15 minutes and it becomes clear that we don’t work well together, I’m not going to bill you for that time. Otherwise, if we’re talking about tax/accounting issues (as opposed to just small talk), then I’m working, and while talking about taxes can be interesting, it’s not so interesting that I’m willing to do it for free! I do hope to be compensated for my time…


It could be one of these reasons. Ultimately, your withholding wasn’t as high as it should have been, and that’s often nobody’s fault. It happens. Hopefully, there will be another year down the road where you’ll get a much bigger refund than you were expecting, and in the grand scheme of things, balance will be restored. In the meantime, you may want to take advantage of the payment plans offered by the IRS and Oregon, which are easy to sign up for, easy to manage, won’t affect your credit score (as long as you make your payments on time), can be paid off in full at any time, and carry a much lower interest rate than your credit card.


You can see an extensive list of things to bring here.


Not an easy question to answer. See here.


I have no idea where this idea of a “maximum” charitable contribution comes from, but so many people ask about it that it must have come from somewhere. Technically, I suppose there is a maximum, in that you can’t deduct more than 50% of your income in charitable contributions, but I think I’ve only ever had one client who came up against that limit. Other than that, there is no maximum. You can claim a deduction for any contributions for which you have sufficient records. That could be $250, $500, $1,000, $10,000, whatever. If you have no records, then “the maximum” is $0. See here for more info.


Yes and no. Most people are already well aware of the kinds of things that are deductible, both personal expenses (mortgage interest, education expenses, charitable contributions, etc) and business expenses. So it’s actually quite rare that I “find” anything that you don’t already have at least have some vague knowledge of.

Unfortunately, it’s far more common for me to be an un-finder of deductions. You think you can deduct something that your co-worker told you about, or that your brother-in-law’s accountant “found” for him, but I end up having to tell you that you can’t claim the deduction, for any number of reasons.


The information on this page is current only up to the original date of publication: December 7, 2011. For more information, please see the Terms of Use.