Are you back from your gift exchange excursion? Got rid of that horrible sweater from dear old Aunt Trudy? Good. Now you can work on your taxes!
Honestly, now is the time to be thinking about your 2006 tax bill and how you can lower it.
Let's face it. After Jan. 1, when it comes to our current tax bills, the only tax-saving option for most of us is contributing to a tax-deductible traditional IRA, if we're eligible.
But in these waning days of 2006, tax savings still abound!
You already know the easy ones: Give to your favorite charity (I've blogged on some options here, here and here), sell some losing stocks to offset any capital gains you had this year, prepay some tax-deductible expenses to maximize your 2006 tax breaks.
Those are just a few, and they're included in this baker's dozen tax moves to make by Dec. 31:
1. Get in the giving mood
2. Evaluate your portfolio
3. Let your home help you out
4. Embrace energy efficiency
5. Go for better gas mileage
6. Flex your spending account muscle
7. Maximize medical deductions
8. Make early miscellaneous payments
9. Shift incoming income
10. Tend to your retirement
11. Examine education payment options
12. Check your withholding
13. Explore extended tax breaks
Details on these 13 year-end tax-saving moves can be found in this story I wrote for Bankrate.com. Hmmm. Looking at this list now, I wish I'd thought about a fun way to arrange and/or rename them for acronym purposes. Note to self: Next year!
William Perez at About: Tax Planning also has 12 year-end tax suggestions. Check it out, along with my story, then compare, contrast, discuss.
And Gina at Gina's Tax Articles has some good year-end advice on keeping the alternative minimum tax at bay.
OK. Ready for an early '06 tax run? Let's do it! Sit down and decide which of these tax moves fit into your tax situation and make them now.
That way, you won't drop the 2006 tax ball before Dick Clark and his minion (why do I want to preface that word with "evil"?) Ryan Seacrest (and why do I always think of the movie All About Eve when I see those two guys referred to together?) drop the 2007 ball in Times Square.
December calendar courtesy Ecardia.com