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Tax moves to make in October 2011

Tick, tick, tick. 2011 is rapidly winding down. We're now into the last quarter of the year.

If earlier this year you got an extension to file your 2010 tax return, you've got just over two weeks to finish that job. The due date is Monday, Oct. 17, since the regular Oct. 15 deadline is on Saturday.

October_tax_moves_160 But don't panic. Seventeen days are plenty of time to get your 2010 Form 1040 to the Internal Revenue Service.

And once you've done that, you also have time to work on ways to cut your 2011 tax bill.

First, for the filing procrastinators (of which I'm one this year), gather up all your statements you need to fill in your tax return. This includes W-2s and the various 1099s.

If you're sending in a paper return despite the IRS' best efforts to get you to e-file, make sure you get it to the Post Office so that it's postmarked no later than Oct. 17.

Or e-file by midnight on Oct. 17. Remember, Free File is still available for qualifying taxpayers (those whose 2010 adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less), too.

Once you're done with your 2010 return filing tasks, then it's time to work on cutting your 2011 tax bill. A bunching strategy can help taxpayers who itemize get over deduction thresholds.

These and many other tax actions are listed in October Tax Moves detailed over in the ol' blog's left column. Just scroll down a bit and voilà! You'll find plenty of tax-saving suggestions to keep you busy this month.

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