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Justin Dain Hein

Justin Hein’s Answers

47 total

  • Can I write off the purchase of an iPad if I have ADHD and want to use it for work?

    I work for a Non-Profit and I want to purchase the basic 16GB WiFi (only) iPad for the sole purpose of using it ONLY for work related things, since I already have an iPhone that I use for personal usage. About Me: I've been diagnosed with ADHD ...

    Justin’s Answer

    To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.

    Generally, you cannot deduct personal, living, or family expenses. However, if you have an expense for something that is used partly for business and partly for personal purposes, divide the total cost between the business and personal parts. You can deduct the business part.

    The tax implications of your situation is a little complex and I would be needing additional information from you in order to answer it. For example, are you a self-employed contractor for the non-profit or a wage employee? Does the non-profit have a business expense reimbursement program?

    Were we to assume that this was a business expense for yourself with no possibility of reimbursement, it is quite possible that you would be able to claim it on your tax return. However, the size of the deduction is limited. Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses are a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form 1040NR). You can claim the amount of expenses that is more than 2% of your adjusted gross income. You figure your deduction on Schedule A by subtracting 2% of your adjusted gross income from the total amount of these expenses. Your adjusted gross income is the amount on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040NR, line 36.

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  • Is it legel to hire a lawyer from another stated to handle IRS issues that is not in the you live in?

    We live in chicago Il and hired a lawyer in california to handle this case was this a mistake?

    Justin’s Answer

    If you hired an attorney to resolve an IRS tax matter, then it does not matter where the attorney is licensed and/or where you live. Attorneys licensed across the country can handle matters for clients across the country.

    Specifically, any attorney who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS and who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state, possession, territory, commonwealth, or the District of Columbia may practice before the IRS.

    An issue will arise if you have a state tax matter. In that case, you would need an attorney licensed in the state in which you reside to handle it for you.

    Please check out IRS Publication 947 for more information.

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  • IRS Tax Liens

    I have a IRS tax lien against me, they have frozen my checking account, and are in the prcess of attempting to garnish my wages. I have no money, and I'm barely paying my monthly obligations. What should I do?

    Justin’s Answer

    You need to negotiate a resolution to your IRS tax debt. If the IRS has filed a lien against you and/or is levying your bank account or wages, it means that they have begun enforced collection against you. To prevent this from getting any worse, you will need to negotiate a resolution to your tax debt. This will stop IRS collections (e.g. levy against income, bank). It will not remove the lien, which will likely remain in place until tax debt has been paid in full or expires.

    To quickly resolve your particular situation, first, ensure that you have filed all necessary tax returns. The IRS will not negotiate a resolution to a tax debt unless all current returns due have been filed. Then, adjust your withholdings or start making estimated tax payments on the current year. Again, the IRS will not negotiate a resolution to a tax debt unless the taxpayer takes steps to ensure that he/she will not owe in future years.

    After those two preliminary steps, find out how much you owe and from what years. If you owe for recent tax years and owe less than $25,000, you can set-up a monthly payment plan directly with the IRS. Called a Streamlined Installment Agreement (SIA), it is merely a payment plan that will pay-off the tax debt in 60 months or less. Take the amount you owe, divide it by 60 months, and then multiply that amount by 1.2. This multiplier accounts for interest and penalties that will continue to accumulate.

    If you owe for older years, owe more than $25,000, or cannot afford a monthly payment to the IRS, complete an IRS Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement. This is the document the IRS provides taxpayers to resolve their back taxes either through an Installment Agreement (IA) or by placing them into a protected status against collections (a/k/a Currently Not Collectible (CNC) status). You will need to submit it along with relevant proof documents (e.g. paycheck stubs, bank statements) to the IRS. This can be done over the telephone (800-829-1040) or via mail (see for addresses). Once placed onto an IA or CNC, the IRS will stop IRS Collections.

    After stopping IRS collections, you may want to consider an Offer in Compromise (OIC). An OIC is a settlement with the IRS. Basically, you come to terms with the IRS on what you can afford to pay in a single, lump sum payment or a payment over two years that will completely extinguish your IRS tax debt. Whether this amount is less than what you currently owe is dependent upon your current financial situation. If you do not have a lot of assets and are "in the red" month after month, an Offer in Compromise might be for you. For more information, check out the attached IRS publication.

    Finally, you do not have to face the IRS on your own. There are tax professionals who specialize in resolving IRS tax debt. You may want to contact those individuals and seek assistance. They should be able to identify what type of IRS tax debt resolution is most appropriate for you given your current financial situation during their free consultation.

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  • Paying Federeal Tax on Repossessed Automibles

    What is the federal ruling on paying taxes on a automobile that has been repossessed? A car was repossessed in 2002 and someone I know just received notice that they ower $2800 taxes and a 1099 was sent the government.

    Justin’s Answer

    If you do not make payments you owe on a loan secured by property (i.e. an automobile), the lender may repossess the property. The repossession is treated the same as a sale or exchange from which you may realize gain or loss. This gain or loss is treated as a gain or loss even if you voluntarily return the property to the lender. You figure and report gain or loss from a repossession in the same way as gain or loss from a sale or exchange. The gain or loss is the difference between your adjusted basis in the transferred property and the amount realized.

    You also may realize ordinary income from cancellation of debt if the loan balance is more than the fair market value of the property and the lender is not going to pursue its collection. If property that is repossessed secures a debt for which you are personally liable (recourse debt), you generally must report as ordinary income the amount by which the canceled debt is more than the fair market value of the property. This income is separate and in addition from any gain or loss realized from the repossession.

    For more information, examples, and a worksheet for the calculation of taxes on repossessed property, please see the attached.

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  • Dogs in public places.

    I would like to know what the law is regarding pets in public places where food is served...These are not serve dogs, just pets.???

    Justin’s Answer

    Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants.

    For non-service animals - i.e. pets - you will have to consult with your local municipal code. For example, the City of Belmont, WA specifically prohibits non-service animals in public restaurants. In fact, it requires that all dogs be on a leash except in designated dog exercise areas.

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  • Cookies deductible?

    My church group sells sugar cookies ($5 per cookie) to help fund a summer camp in the Cascades. Can people who buy the cookies deduct what they spend on the cookies on their tax returns? Do we need to give them receipts?

    Justin’s Answer

    People who purchase the cookies are, in effect, making a cash contribution. As pointed out by my colleague above, the contriution is equal to the amount paid less the cost of the good. This would roughly be $4.00 per cookie, as pointed out by my colleague.

    However, according to IRS Publication 526 (see below), you cannot deduct a cash contribution, regardless of the amount, unless you keep documented records of the cash contribution. A receipt (or a letter or other written communication) from the qualified organization showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution would be sufficient. Similar information could also be recorded on a cancelled check, bank statement, or credit card statement. The IRS requests more specific documentation once contributions exceed $250.00.

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  • Taxes

    If i myself am being claimed by my parent am i still able to claim my child?

    Justin’s Answer

    You cannot claim any dependents if you could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. Similarly, you cannot claim any dependents if your spouse could be claimed as dependent by another taxpayer, and you and your spouse are filing jointly.

    "Could be claimed" means "if another taxpayer is entitled to claim you as a dependent." Thus, you cannot claim a deduction for your child even if your parent does not even actually claim you as a dependent.

    For more information:

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  • Immigration

    why do people think immigration is so bad?

    Justin’s Answer

    I think what you mean to ask is, "why do people think illegal immigration is so bad?" Illegal immigration is the process of non-citizens entering the United States illegally and maintaining a continued presence. The "presence" is in the form of employment, residence, starting a family, and receiving social welfare benefits.

    Legal immigration, for the most part, is seen as a positive. Immigrants create new businesses and other employment-generating activities. They strengthen America's economic and political ties with other nations. Properly regulated immigration further strengthens American scientific, literary, artistic and other cultural resources. It promotes family values and ties, important components of good schools and strong communities. At a time of troubling ethnic strife in many parts of the world, an effective American immigration policy can demonstrate to other countries that religious and ethnic diversity are compatible with national civic unity in a democratic and free society.

    Legal immigration, however, has costs. Immigrants with relatively low education and skills may compete for jobs and public services with the most vulnerable of Americans, particularly those who are unemployed or underemployed. Jobs generated by immigrant businesses do not always address this problem. Concentrated and/or rapid entry of immigrants into a locality may impose immediate net costs, particularly in education funding to meet the additional and special needs of newcomers. Concentration of new immigrants can exacerbate tensions among ethnic groups. Certain legal immigrant populations may impose other costs (i.e. refugees often need special health and other services). Elderly new immigrants are more likely to draw upon public services than elderly native-born Americans or immigrants who came to the United States at a younger age.

    When people speak negatively about immigration it is because they often dwell on its negative externalities of legal immigration. Illegal immigration has a worse reputation for it has the added pungency of individuals "skipping-the-line" of legal immigrants. These would be aspiring citizens who often wait many years to gain legal access to the United States. Some people feel that illegal immigrants take opportunities away from these individuals.

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  • Name change

    how do i go about changing my daughters name?

    Justin’s Answer

    Name Changes are filed in District Court, in the county where your daughter resides. Generally, a Petition for Name Change and an Order for Name Change must be completed. You will need to contact the District Court in the county where you reside in order to obtain the needed forms.

    Contact information for all County Courts is available in the Washington Court Directory (see below).

    Name Change fees vary depending upon the county and possibly on the number of persons named on the Petition. You will need to contact your county District Court in order to determine the exact fees. You can expect that once the Petition has been completed, the case will be presented to a judge for approval and signature.

    Once the name change has been approved, if you wish to change your birth certificate, and if you were born in Washington State, you will need to send certified copies of all the completed paperwork to:

    Department of Health
    Center for Health Statistics
    P.O. Box 9709
    Olympia, WA 98507-9709

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  • Cost basis

    I bought some stock a long time ago, and cannot figure out what I paid for it. The records were in my basement, which was flooded by Katrina. If I sell it, how can I figure out my cost basis so that I can report the gain?

    Justin’s Answer

    The cost basis is simply the money you paid when you bought the security, including any commissions that you paid to acquire that security. If you accumulated stock over the course of many purchases, the total cost basis is still just the cost of all the purchases including commissions.

    But be mindful of reinvested dividends. If a stock paid dividends and the dividends were reinvested, computation of the cost basis will require some work. All reinvested dividends need to be added to the cost basis, otherwise the cost basis will be much too low and you will pay too much tax. If the dividend payment and reinvestment records are not available, you need to reconstruct them. Find out from old Wall Street Journals or New York Times financial sections how much the dividend was each year since the stock was acquired or inherited, and use the number of shares and price per share on the dividend pay date.

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