Editor's Note: Tracy Byrnes will be answering questions throughout the tax season to help guide you through your return. Please send her an email to ask a tax-related question. She will pick a few each week to answer for all of our readers.


Can I claim a mileage deduction for driving to and from work? -- V.S.

Tracy Byrnes: Wouldn't that be nice? That would be a big break for those poor folks who have to travel hours a day just to get to work.

Unfortunately, you can't deduct your commute to the office that you are required to be at every day. That means gas, tolls, train passes and subway tokens all are expenses you must swallow.

But if you left that office to visit a client or a customer, you can deduct any of those unreimbursed expenses. Along those lines, if you are required to attend a business meeting away from your regular workplace, those unreimbursed expenses also will be deductible.

If, on the other hand, you work from home, any driving you did to meet clients or visit other work locations would be deductible.

If I signed up for one of your subscriptions such as ActionAlerts PlUS, can I deduct the cost of it on my taxes? -- A.S.

If you can honestly say that those ActionAlerts help you make better trading decisions (of course they do!), then you can deduct them as part of your investment expenses. Same goes for any other subscriptions to investment journals or Web sites that you pay for to help make smarter decisions with your investments. Basically, any fee you paid for the benefit of your investments is deductible, says Mark Luscombe, a principal federal tax analyst with CCH Inc., a provider of tax and business law information.

But remember, these fees are subject to the 2% adjusted gross income rule. The total amount of certain miscellaneous expenses you claim must be more than 2% of your adjusted gross income. So if your AGI is $50,000, 2% is $1,000. Your expenses would thus have to total more than $1,000 to be deductible. So start tallying. Every little bit helps.

I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and got discharged last year. Will I have to report this to the IRS? Is there a form I need to fill out when I do my taxes? -- J.H.

Sorry to hear about your situation. The upside is that you don't have to do anything special with your Form 1040. Just file it on time and properly report whatever income you have left.

But a tax return does need to be filed. Presumably a bankruptcy trustee was appointed by the court or elected by your creditors. That person is required to file a return for your bankruptcy estate, says John Clark, a tax analyst at RIA, a provider of information and software to tax professionals. The trustee will have to file a Form 1041 -- U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts on your behalf. So while you don't have to prepare that, you should just make sure it gets done.

Good luck.
Tracy Byrnes is an award-winning writer specializing in tax and accounting issues. As a freelancer, she has written columns for wsj.com and the New York Post and her work has appeared in SmartMoney and on CBS MarketWatch. Prior to freelancing, she spent four years as a senior writer for TheStreet.com. Before that, she was an accountant with Ernst & Young. She has a B.A. in English and economics from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. in accounting from Rutgers University. Byrnes appreciates your feedback; click here to send her an email.