Live chat with Brent Hunsberger: Talk tax prep at noon Thursday
11:44
The Oregonian: 
Welcome to our tax prep live chat with It's Only Money reporter Brent Hunsberger. Brent will join us at noon. Until then, please feel free to submit your questions and comments. Expect a short delay between the time you hit send and the time you see your comment in the chat.
Thursday January 24, 2013 11:44 The Oregonian
12:04
itsonlymoney: 
HI folks, sorry for the delay. Welcome to the chat.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:04 itsonlymoney
12:05
itsonlymoney: 
I'll try to take any tax-related question, but I really wanted to focus on helping you choose the right way to do your taxes.
We might have a couple experts join us too.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:05 itsonlymoney
12:05
The Oregonian: 
So let's the start with the basics. Who are the best candidates to file their taxes themselves?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:05 The Oregonian
12:06
The Oregonian: 
And speaking of experts in the room, welcome to April Gutierrez.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:06 The Oregonian
12:06
[Comment From April GutierrezApril Gutierrez: ] 
Short Bio - I am co-owner of Pacific Northwest Tax Service which is a Portland-based independent tax service. We have east and west side locations with full-time staff of 10-15 LTCs, LTPs, EAs and a CPA.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:06 April Gutierrez
12:06
[Comment From April GutierrezApril Gutierrez: ] 
I am also founder and owner of Pacific Northwest Tax School. Our school is licensed by the Oregon Board of Education. We are also an approved IRS provider of CPE for Enrolled Agents and Registered Tax Preparers. The school is also approved by NASBA as provider of CPE for CPAs. More than 3,200 CPAs, EAs and other tax professionals completed more than 20,000 hours of CPE with our school in 2012.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:06 April Gutierrez
12:06
itsonlymoney: 
Well, anyone who's single or married without kids who qualify for the 1040EZ and bring in a paycheck from an employer should have a fairly easy time.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:06 itsonlymoney
12:07
The Oregonian: 
And when do you know it's time to seek professional help filing taxes?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:07 The Oregonian
12:07
itsonlymoney: 
Even married couples with kids can do their own relatively easily. Things start to get tricky when you're self-employed, a small business owner and have special needs children.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:07 itsonlymoney
12:08
itsonlymoney: 
And, if you just find you don't enjoy it, then get help. Software programs might do the trick, but professionals can, too.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:08 itsonlymoney
12:08
The Oregonian: 
Thanks, Brent. And now for reader questions.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:08 The Oregonian
12:08
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Any word on when the withholding calculator will come back online? http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:08 Guest
12:09
itsonlymoney: 
Great question. I just asked IRS spokesman Richard Panick about this last week about the withholding calculator. He didn't have an answer. Tools on the IRS web site are taken down annually for "updating," he said. I presume they're reprogramming it because of all the changes in the fiscal cliff legislation.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:09 itsonlymoney
12:10
itsonlymoney: 
I think you'll just have to keep checking back. I'll alert readers when I see it up. It's something folks will want to use to adjust their withholding at the start of the year. Here's the link: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:10 itsonlymoney
12:10
[Comment From AnneAnne: ] 
Hi, I bought my first house in 2012 and had to pre-pay property taxes so the full annual tax bill could be paid later that year in my name by the escrow company. But I am hearing that I can't deduct all the property taxes I paid in 2012. Apparently, I can only deduct the portion that is pro rated for the time I owned the house. Is that right? I thought individual taxpayers are cash based, which means, you report it in the year you earn it or pay it.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:10 Anne
12:11
itsonlymoney: 
Thanks, Anne. Boy, that's beyond my immediate expertise. April Gutierrez, do you know?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:11 itsonlymoney
12:11
[Comment From MikeMike: ] 
I'll start w/ a L-T question: Do you expect the mortgage deduction to be capped?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:11 Mike
12:12
itsonlymoney: 
Mike, that calls for speculating on what Congress will do, which is always dangerous.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:12 itsonlymoney
12:12
itsonlymoney: 
Already, there is a new cap on itemized deductions for high earners; their ability to benefit from that deduction has been limited somewhat.
For the average taxpayer who itemizes? I don't know. It's certainly possible, but I wouldn't worry about it now.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:12 itsonlymoney
12:13
[Comment From JerryJerry: ] 
What will be the standard deduction for 2013,,,filing jointly?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:13 Jerry
12:13
itsonlymoney: 
Jerry,

one moment
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:13 itsonlymoney
12:14
[Comment From April GutierrezApril Gutierrez: ] 
Reply to Anne: You are allowed a deduction only for taxes assessed against you or property you own that were paid by you. Taxes paid for a period of time that you did not own the home should have been prorated and credited to you by the seller of the home when you purchased. This credit would appear on the settlement statement from closing.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:14 April Gutierrez
12:14
The Oregonian: 
Thanks, April. Anne, hope that helps.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:14 The Oregonian
12:15
itsonlymoney: 
Jerry, it should be $12,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly. That's an estimate by the CCH Group, which provides tax software to CPAs, etc. The official numbers won't be release for a while.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:15 itsonlymoney
12:15
[Comment From Bob WattBob Watt: ] 
We have executed a 10-31 exchange on a rental house. can most cpa's deal with this
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:15 Bob Watt
12:16
[Comment From April GutierrezApril Gutierrez: ] 
Standard deduction for MFJ for 2012 is $11,900.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:16 April Gutierrez
12:16
itsonlymoney: 
Bob Watt,

Yes, they can. Even Licensed Tax Consultants can handle those.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:16 itsonlymoney
12:17
itsonlymoney: 
And thanks, April, for the 2012 standard deduction number. It's official and any 2013 estimate is just that.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:17 itsonlymoney
12:18
[Comment From AnneAnne: ] 
So I can deduct the taxes for 2012-2013 year (I will own the house the whole tax year, not the whole 2012 calendar year) even if portion of the taxes is for 2013, as long as I paid it in full in November 2012?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:18 Anne
12:18
[Comment From DeanDean: ] 
I live in Oregon 10 months out of the year. Can I deduct (itemize) property tax and mortgage interest on a second home located in California?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:18 Dean
12:19
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Thursday January 24, 2013 12:19 
12:19
[Comment From April GutierrezApril Gutierrez: ] 
Bob Watt: 1031 Exhanges require completion of IRS Form 8824. Specific tax tests are applied to calculate what portion of gain is realized from the sale and what part will be taxed now vs. the amount of gain that will be deferred. Most CPAs do not specialize in taxes, therefore a comment should not be made that any CPA should be able to complete for 8824 accurately.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:19 April Gutierrez
12:20
The Oregonian: 
Dean, Brent's searching for some info for you on that question.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:20 The Oregonian
12:20
itsonlymoney: 
Dean, real estate taxes on a second home are generally deductible.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:20 itsonlymoney
12:21
The Oregonian: 
Readers, I'm curious. Are you filing your taxes on your own this year? Or with professional help? What determined that choice?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:21 The Oregonian
12:21
itsonlymoney: 
Dean, the combined deduction limit for mortgage interest on your primary and secondary residence is $1,000,000 for acquisition indebtedness and $100,000 for home equity indebtedness
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:21 itsonlymoney
12:22
[Comment From April GutierrezApril Gutierrez: ] 
Oregon property tax statements are fiscal. This means that taxes due and paid in November are for the fiscal period that runs July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. If you closed on the sale on or before July 1, 2012, you will be able to claim all taxes paid in November. If you closed before July 1, you will also be able to claim for a prorated amount of tax you paid for the first half of the year. You would have paid this prorated amount when you closed on the purchase. By contrast, if you closed after July 1, then your deduction must be prorated for the portion of time you owned the home for the fiscal period.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:22 April Gutierrez
12:23
[Comment From AnneAnne: ] 
Thanks, that helps.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:23 Anne
12:23
itsonlymoney: 
And while April is correct that not all CPAs specialize in taxes, the ones that do should be able to handle a 1031 exchange. Just make sure you seek one out who regularly does income tax returns.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:23 itsonlymoney
12:24
[Comment From MeMe: ] 
I tried to pay some medical bills by the end of 2012, but my provider's billing department wasn't open for a few days in a row so I wasn't able to pay until Jan. 2. Any luck in applying that to 2012?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:24 Me
12:24
[Comment From spiff88spiff88: ] 
I file my own taxes. Mine are relatively simple, though I do file 1040 with a few schedules. It takes a few hours on a Saturday, and I usually use my previous year's form to make sure I don't miss something. Also, I try and make sure I know what has changed each year.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:24 spiff88
12:24
itsonlymoney: 
Me -- I don't know for sure, but I doubt it. I certainly wouldn't advise backdating it. However, perhaps April knows.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:24 itsonlymoney
12:24
[Comment From JerryJerry: ] 
Professional help here....small business seems a bit too complex to handle on our return. Once the small business goes away (June this year), we will do it on our own
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:24 Jerry
12:25
[Comment From AmyAmy: ] 
I recently completed my taxes with TurboTax's software and selected to have my TurboTax fees deducted from my federal return. Is there a risk of delay in getting my refund? Or should it come the day the feds say it will?
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:25 Amy
12:26
The Oregonian: 
Interesting. Thanks all for weighing in on the DIY vs. going to a pro.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:26 The Oregonian
12:27
itsonlymoney: 
Amy, I doubt it, especially if yours was a fairly straightforward 1040 return.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:27 itsonlymoney
12:27
[Comment From April GutierrezApril Gutierrez: ] 
You can deduct medical expenses paid during the year. Did you send payment in January of 2013? If so, you will deduct on your 2013 return. This of course assumes that your medical expenses will exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2013. For 2012, your medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of your AGI. Taxpayers who are age 62 or older can claim a full medical deduction on their Oregon return without regard to the AGI limit.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:27 April Gutierrez
12:27
itsonlymoney: 
Amy, Taxpayers who attach certain additional forms, however, will not be able to file until February or March because of the changes Congress made. I'll get a link to those forms in a moment.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:27 itsonlymoney
12:27
The Oregonian: 
Thanks, April, for weighing in on Me's question.
Thursday January 24, 2013 12:27 The Oregonian
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