Personal Finance: Ask the Experts

Get advice on money matters from The Bee's Claudia Buck and a panel of local experts

May 30, 2013
How do I correct mistakes on claiming a Capital Loss Carryover?

I had a CPA prepare my taxes in 2007. He did a very thorough job.

The following year, I made a big mistake: I used a very popular tax prep program with the initials TT. Now, in 2012 I have discovered that I failed to enter a capital loss carryover of $98,000 on my 540D (California taxes). I entered the right amount for the federal cap loss carryover when I filed the following year - 2008.

So from 2007 to the current year 2012, no CA capital loss carryover was entered. Now, 5 years later, the federal capital loss carryover has been whittled down to about $45,000.

I have a couple of Capital Loss Carryover (CLCO) questions.
1) I believe I can amend back 4 years. Is that right?

2) The 540D capital loss carryover worksheet (CLCO ws) is a carryover to the state tax capital loss and not the federal capital loss carryover for the following year?
It's just a state figure, right?

There are two different carryover figures. The value calculated using the CLCO worksheet in the 540D instructions is used on next year's state tax form, not next year's 1040 schedule D.

3) A lot of people have been telling me to just enter the Fed cap loss carryover for 2012 into the value for the 2012 state 540D form and be done with it. I don't think this is right. I think I need to work thorough the CLCO worksheets from 2007 till present and enter that figure for 2012, and then re-file back to 2008 with the right figures.

4) Finally, this should only affect my State tax forms, not my federal forms. Am I right?

Fortunately, I'm still "deep into" the Carryover, so in the years that I can't amend the CA forms I lost a deduction that would have netted me higher refunds. I won't be owing anything but I lost out on refunds. I don't believe I'll come close to using up the carryover for some time to come.

Sleepless with Worry in Moraga

May 30, 2013
How do I complete a long-term "Capital Loss Carryover" on a tax form?

My father has a long-term Capital Loss Carryover from 2011 and 2012. On his federal return, I entered the amount on line 14 of Schedule D. Is the Federal amount I entered on Line 14, also entered on Line 6 of California D(540)?

Carmichael, CA

March 5, 2013
Can my Social Security income be garnished by the Franchise Tax Board?

Q: I've got a state tax lien from the state Franchise Tax Board. With the new federal requirement that Social Security checks have to be received by electronic payment, I now have to open a bank account to get my monthly check. Does that mean my bank account could be garnished to pay my back taxes?

March 4, 2013
Does a return need to be filed if no tax is due or I'm getting a refund?

Q: My college-aged kid just filed a federal return to get a $100 refund. But there is no state refund or tax due. Should he file a state tax return anyway?

February 28, 2013
How do I value property as a charitable deduction on my taxes?

Q: I'm considering donating a vacant lot to Habitat for Humanity to offset taxes on other property that I'm selling. For tax-deduction purposes, can I use the property's assessed value or must I use the estimated market value? If it's the latter, is the cost deductible?
Sacramento, CA

Meet Our Financial Experts

Claudia Buck

Claudia Buck is The Sacramento Bee's personal finance columnist. Read all her columns here. Contact her at

Terri Carpenter

Terri Carpenter offers advice on job hunting, retraining and career counseling. Carpenter works at Sacramento Works Inc., the career and job training arm of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). With 15 years in the field, she has hands-on experience with everyone from first-time job seekers to career professionals seeking advice after a layoff or looking for a mid-career change. Ask her a question.

Carlena Tapella

Carlena Tapella is a partner in the law firm of Webb & Tapella Law Corp. in Sacramento. The firm specializes in estate planning and probate, such as estates, trusts, conservatorships and litigation. She is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate Section. Ask her a question.

Kimberly Foss

Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner, is the founder of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville. With nearly 30 years in the financial industry, her clients include women in transition, small business owners, retirees and "pre-retirees." Ask her a question.

Jesse Weller

Gregory Burke, a CPA and tax expert with John Waddell & Co. in Sacramento since 1984, worked as an IRS tax auditor for six years. He’s a past chairman of the California Society of CPAs. Ask him a question.

Daniel Tahara

Daniel Tahara takes your questions about California taxes. Tahara, a spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, has 10 years of experience as a tax auditor. Ask him a question.

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