Discussion:Frequently Asked Questions

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Discussion Forum Index --> Tax Questions --> Frequently Asked Questions


Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2006
The following FAQ list contains answers to some of the questions that are frequently asked about the TaxAlmanac Discussion Forums.

How can I update my profile?

Your profile, also known as your user page, can be accessed by clicking your user name on any of your posts, or my clicking the user name next to the username icon (a little person icon) at the very top of the screen. If you're already signed in to TaxAlmanac, you can also get there by clicking on this link: Profile/user page.

To update your profile, you open it up and then click the "edit this page" tab. You make any changes to the existing version of the user page - if you've just signed up, you'll see some boilerplate language there to suggest the kinds of things many users tend to include - and then click "save page" at the bottom when you're done. You can also use the "show preview" button to make sure the information is arranged as you like, and then click "save page" once you've made any additional changes.

It's very important that your user page be updated before you start participating on TaxAlmanac. The users here like to get to know each other, and also, your level of experience may be an important consideration when users are developing an appropriate answer for your questions, or when assessing the reliability of answers you provide to others. Beyond that, though, some users won’t respond at all if your profile hasn’t been updated, so providing the info before you ask a question may increase your chance of getting helpful responses. And finally, questions may be moved out of the Tax Forum, and into the Consumer Forum, if they do not appear to have been asked by a tax pro (e.g., if profile has not yet been updated).

How can I link to a Code Section or Regulation within my posts?

This is fairly easy - simply type "Sec." followed by the section number, and put that between two square bracket characters, like this:
[[Sec. 123]] - To link to an Internal Revenue Code Section.
[[Publication 17]] - To link to a Publication
[[Rev. Rul. 99-1]] - To link to a Revenue Ruling (1954-1999)
[[Rev. Rul. 2000-1]] - To link to a Revenue Ruling (2000-present)
Please note that the "Sec." must include the period.
Also, at this time you cannot link to a subsection, so [[Sec. 123(a)]] will not work, so use [[Sec. 123]](a) instead.
In theory, linking to a reg should work the same way: [[Reg. 1.123-1]] - To link to a Treasury Regulation.
However, some of the shortcuts are not available, and therefore in most cases you may have to go to the Treasury Regulations section of TaxAlmanac, find the reg you wish to link, copy the page title, and paste the link into your post just as you'd normally paste an onsite link (i.e., surrounded by double brackets). Or you can copy the URL and include it in your post the same way you'd put in an offsite link (i.e., single brackets).

How do I edit my posts after they are saved?

Select the edit this page link (in the "edit this page" tab) at the top of the page. That will display the contents of the entire page, not just your post. Find your post on the page. Each post starts with {{ and ends with }} and contains various pieces of information. Try to leave these other pieces alone and just change the text as you need to. As noted in the Code of Conduct, please do not edit other people's posts (unless you're improving readability by converting an ALL UPPERCASE post to mixed case, fixing a policy violation, or something like that).

How can I rename a discussion after it has been saved?

To change the Topic / Subject of a discussion (i.e., change your discussion title), select the move tab at the top and enter the name that you'd like the page to have. Be sure to keep the "Discussion:" prefix at the start of the name, as that's what sorts it into the forum index. If you receive a warning message indicating that another article already has that name, you'll need to choose another so as to not overwrite the existing page.

How do I find a question that I asked or a topic that I responded to?

There is a link called "my contributions" in the upper right corner of your screen once you've signed in; that link will take you to a list of all posts you've made with that user ID.
If you have created a new discussion forum topic or replied to an existing one, you can view that discussion and select the edits link next to your username. You can do this for yourself or for any other user. This will display all edits / replies that you have made on TaxAlmanac, sorted by date.
If you haven't yet participated in a discussion (or can't find it), simply go to your user page by clicking on your name at the top of the screen after you log in. Once there, select the User Contributions link in the toolbox on the left side of the screen to see all of the pages that you have added or edited. New posts and replies in the discussion forums are included.
If you want to find the posts of another user, simply click on their name in the discussion forum and follow the same procedure.

How can I learn more about the qualifications of another user?

When other users answer a question, how do you know how much faith you can put in their answers? What are their qualifications? Are they an expert with years of experience in that area of taxation? Are they a CPA or an Enrolled Agent? To find out, simply click on their username and you'll be taken to their user page. This is where they hopefully have listed their qualifications and a little bit about themselves.
Although many people have done a great job of adding information about themselves to their user page, many other have not yet done so. Have you? If not, it's easy! Simply click on your username (either in a discussion or at the very top of the screen), then edit that page. Tell us who you are! Note that you do not need to reveal personally identifying information on this page if you don't want to. Feel free to just say something like "I have been a CPA/EA working with tax clients for 5 years."

Can I add a picture to my user page?

Yes, you sure can! Use the Upload file link in the toolbox on the left side of the screen. Go to your personal user page and simply add the text [[Image:NAME.jpg]]. If you'd like to get fancier, you can left-justify it on the page and have the text on the page wrap around it by entering this: [[Image:NAME.jpg|left]]. Note that the name of the picture is case-sensitive. There is more info in this help page: How to upload a photo.

How can I contact another TaxAlmanac user?

You have two options. First, click on the user's username - that will take you to their user page. Once there, select the discussion tab at the top of the page. If you edit that page, they'll be notified the next time they log in to TaxAlmanac. If they have an email address entered and authenticated, they'll also receive an email indicating that their talk page has been changed with instructions on how to view the changes. I've been adding a welcome message at the top of everyone's discussion page which includes an easy Leave a message for User by clicking here bar, but I am a little behind at the moment. If the user you are trying to message has this, you can use it. If not, just edit the page using the edit tab at the top.
A second option is to go to their user or their talk page and select the E-mail this user link on the left of those pages. If they have an email address entered and authenticated, you will be able to email them from TaxAlmanac.

Can I sort the topic listing grid by other fields?

Yes, simply click on the column title to sort by that field.

How can I change the formatting of my posts?

It's fairly easy...
Simply surround text with 2 apostrophes. ''This'' will produce This. Note that this is not the quote character. You need to do two of the single quotes here.
Simply surround text with 3 apostrophes. '''This''' will produce This.
Bold and Italics
Simply surround text with 5 apostrophes (2 + 3). '''''This''''' will produce This.
Bulletted List
Simply start a line with an asterisk "*"
Numbered List
Simply start a line with a pound/number sign "#"
Indented Paragraphs
Simply start a line with a colon ":"
This also serves to retain line breaks in pasted text that may otherwise have been ignored by the wiki software.
Using two colons will indent the line a bit further; three colons indents a bit further than two colons, etc.

Feel free to test these out in the Test Discussion Forum.

How can I link to other pages or other sites?

It's not that difficult, but there are several ways, depending on where you're linking.
To link to another discussion or page on TaxAlmanac, surround the page name with two "[[" and "]]" characters, like this [[Main Page]] which produces Main Page. Another example: [[Discussion:New TaxAlmanac Features - June 2006]] which produces Discussion:New TaxAlmanac Features - June 2006.
Advanced: You can change what is displayed by doing this: [[Main Page|Entryway]] which produces Entryway.
To link to a page on another website, simply type in the location of that website, like this: http://www.irs.gov.
Advanced: You can change what is displayed by doing this: [http://www.irs.gov IRS] which produces IRS.
For more information, see Help:How to Add Links.

Can I change my user name on TaxAlmanac?

Yes, this is now available, though the process does not update your user name listed in past discussions on the discussion forums - it only changes it going forward. Simply contact the moderator, Tdoyle, and include a suggestion or two for what you'd like your new name to be. As long as the name has not yet been taken, your old name can be changed by the moderator and all of your user history and your profile will transfer over to the new name.

Can I be notified via email when my question is answered?

Yes, you can use your watch list (bookmarks) for limited email notification, with a few caveats.
To Set Up Email Notification of Changes to your Watchlist/bookmark Items:
  1. Log in and go to your preferences on the very top line.
  2. Make sure you have a valid email address in the Email field.
  3. Scroll down a bit on that page until you can see the Email section. Make sure that the options to Send me an email when a page I have bookmarked is changed is checked, and you may also select Email me also for minor edits of pages along with several other options.
  4. If a notice is displayed in the email section indicating that your email address is not yet authenticated, select the confirm your email address link and from that page select the Mail a confirmation Code button.
  5. You should receive an email within a few minutes. Open that email and select the link that is included. You should receive a message indicating that your address has been authenticated.
At this point, you are set to receive email notifications when any page on your watchlist/bookmarks changes. These pages can be in the discussion forum or anywhere else on TaxAlmanac - the main page, Internal Revenue Code sections, etc.
How to Add Items to your Watchlist/bookmarks
  • For discussions, simply select the Watch this discussion checkbox on the bottom of the discussion pages and then save.
  • For pages other than discussion pages, select the bookmark this page tab at the top of any page. This works for discussion pages as well.
  • To view or edit your watchlist, select the my watchlist link at the top of any TaxAlmanac page, and then click "View and edit watchlist" - the second of three links right up at the top of the page.
  • Keep in mind that you will only receive one email per page that changes until you view that page. If 5 people add replies to a discussion, you'll only get one email. Once you view the page, the trigger is reset.
  • If you make the change to the page, you probably won't get a notification e-mail - it has to be someone else.

How can I search and/or find information more efficiently?

See Hints and Tips on How to Search on TaxAlmanac.
You can also browse discussions or articles by topic:
  • Topical Index - articles and discussions which have been categorized by topic
  • Categories - another way to view the categories discussions are categorized into (click 500 views)
  • Alphabetical Index - all articles and discussions listed alphabetically
And, there are also older help pages on searching: TaxAlmanac:Searching, Help:Searching; they may not all be updated to match the current search functionality.

Can I search just the discussion forums?

  • Click on advanced search.
  • Unselect all checkboxes except Discussion, and enter your real search term, then press enter.
The results will then be displayed with only the discussion forums included.

Can I spell check?

See Discussion:Spell Check Feature for more information.

How can I force a new line?

See Help:How to start a new line

How can I add professional designation boxes to my user page?

See Communities & Designations for a list of communities and designations that are available to be added to your user page, and instructions about how to edit your page to include them. Please note that while the communities and designations are available for you to add to your own user page, forum awards are meant to be awarded by others to you, and should not be self-awarded.

What are forum awards?

There are two kinds of forum awards.
  • Award for contribution quality: this award is given to a user by another user or by the moderator, in recognition of their pattern of high-quality responses. The award is in the form of a bronze star - a barnstar - that will be placed on a user's user page. To see how to award the forum quality star to another user, see Awarding a Barnstar Quality Award.
  • Post count recognition boxes: Periodically, the moderator, Tim Doyle, produces a list of users sorted by post count/number of edits, and organizes those into platinum, gold, silver, or bronze "top contributor" categories, based on relative level of participation - in terms of number of edits - since the site began. The users on the "top contributor" list have recognition boxes placed on their user pages. While quantity doesn't necessarily reflect quality, some of those high-participation users are also known as high-quality contributors.

How do I ask a tax question?

You need to be a tax pro to post a tax question on TaxAlmanac. If you're a tax pro, you go to the Tax Forum, click on "start a new tax question" and then click the appropriate box the next page. Then you go through the steps on the submit a question page.
  • Step 1 is about doing a search for your topic, since so many questions are already answered in the archives (sometimes the best answers you'll get are those from prior questions!) - refer to Hints and Tips on How to Search on TaxAlmanac for info on how best to search,
  • Step 2 is making sure your profile is updated (this step is very important - if you ask a question without completing this step, i.e., updating your user page/profile to provide info on your level of experience/background as a tax pro, your question will be moved to the Consumer Forum if there's no other way to tell if you're a tax pro),
  • Step 3 has some good links about how TA works, and
  • Step 4 is where you click to ask a question. Once you've already done steps 1, 2, and 3, then you're ready to click on one of the links down in step 4.
If your question is about tax software, managing a tax practice (fees, hiring, client issues, etc.), CPE or licensing, then that question should not be asked on the tax forum. You would start that question on the Business Growth/Practice Management forum instead, and there are 4 fewer steps to ask a question on that forum! We also have a chat forum, where discussions of general interest can be found.

Why do my follow-up questions need to be on my original discussion OR what’s the problem with duplicate questions?

One of the great benefits of this site is that responses to any issue can build upon each other. That benefit is lost if the discussion is happening in more than one piece, since many responders won’t have seen the other parts or duplicate copies of your question, so they also won’t have seen responses from other users.
  • If both posts get responses, it doesn’t take long for the responses to start to diverge from each other, especially if the description of the facts differs even a little. Sometimes the responses may even be contradictory, because clarifications available on one discussion were not read by those responding to another. That makes it harder for the OP to determine what path to follow, and also creates confusion for any people searching on the topic later.
  • Obvious duplicates tend to get ignored by a good number of the users here. They may recall the earlier discussion and believe the question was already addressed there, and doesn’t need to be started up again, or they may not want to respond if they can’t be sure which one is the current question, or which set of facts is the one to use.
If you have a follow-up question, or just want to see if more people might respond to a question you posted earlier, go to the “my contributions” link in the upper right corner of your screen, open that discussion, and add a post to the end. Use that post to clarify any issues, ask any follow-up questions, or just request additional responses. By posting to the discussion, you’ll move it back up to the top of the forum index. Also, someone who bookmarked the original discussion to come back to later would be notified that there’s been a new post, and would be reminded to come back and respond.
Doing it that way, rather than posting a duplicate, increases your chances of getting good responses. It also helps those who might respond to you to do so efficiently, and it even helps those who are researching similar topics in the future.
(You may not realize that both your posts and your discussion titles can be edited. Refer to FAQs 3 and 4, above, for info on how to do that, rather than reposting just to fix a typo or mistake in a post or title.)

What are the Discussion Archives?

This term may be used in two contexts: Informally, referring to the wealth of information available in all of the prior discussions, or as a formal reference to a part of the site that is new in late 2010/early 2011.
The "Discussion Archives" section of the site is part of a project to improve search results for people by moving the old and/or not really helpful discussions into a section that isn't searched by default. To include those discussions in your search results you would have to click an extra box to search through that other section (discussed more fully below), so this change is intended to make the initial search results more fruitful (and shorter) in most cases.
Right now, there have not been many old discussions that have actually been moved to the Discussion Archives section, so you may not notice any differences yet, and you should still start reading your search results from the bottom of the list, since that's where discussions started most recently will be. Over time, however, more and more discussions will be moved. The general idea is to move those that are in the consumer forum, or in the tax forum and never got responses even after many months, discussions that have outlived their usefulness (maybe they relate to old law, for example), or are more than two or three years old. An exception to the latter is any discussion that has been categorized by topic - since those were seen to include good info or input for people searching on the particular topic at any later date, they will not be moved out of the part of TaxAlmanac that is searched by default.
If you run a search and are not satisfied with the search results, and have followed all of the applicable Hints and Tips on How to Search on TaxAlmanac, then you can expand your search to also incude the Discussion Archives section. Look at the bottom of your search results page, inside the customization box, for the section that says "Search in namespace" and click to add a check mark to the box to the left of "Discussion Archives." If you want your searches to default to searching the Discussion Archives as well as the more current and categorized discussions, you can set that up by checking off the "Discussion Archives" box in the search tab of "my preferences" (you'll find "my preferences" in the upper part of your screen, toward the right side). Or you can search the site with an external search engine; it will continue to find discussions no matter which section of the site they are in.

If you have any questions which are not answered above, please add them to our TaxAlmanac Feedback Discussion Forum.

NOTICE to readers:

This discussion has been locked, to protect against vandalism. If you would like to add a FAQ or add details to an existing FAQ, please contact Kevinh5, Trillium, or TDoyle to have the discussion unlocked (or pass along your changes for one of them to make). Feedback comments can also be posted directly to the Feedback Forum (the link is above).

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