Editor's Note: Tracy Byrnes will be answering questions throughout the tax season to help guide you through your return. Please send her an
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.