Q: My wife uses our car for work. A tax preparer said that we can’t use this deduction because we don’t own a house. Is this correct?

A: The tax preparer probably feels that you won’t have enough deductions to itemize and that you’re better off taking the standard deduction. If you owned a home, you’d be able to write off the interest you pay on your mortgage, plus your property taxes on your federal income tax form.

Once you’re doing that, the extra deductions for contributions to charities, and driving your own car for work come into play and can help to lower the tax you’ll pay.

Posted July 1, 2004.