Year-end retirement moves, Dec. 2011
Democrats, Republicans duking it out over payroll tax cuts

Tax moves to make in December 2011

Welcome to December! Are you ready for the holidays? Me neither.

How about taxes? That's OK. I don't blame you for putting tax tasks at the bottom of your to-do list. But you shouldn't ignore them completely. There are some things you can do in the next 30 or so days to help cut your 2011 tax bill.

December_tax_moves_160Start with everybody's favorite task: filling out your 1040.

Wait! Don't go! You don't have to do it for real right now. But a mock tax return with the major entries, or good estimates of the amounts, will help you find out now whether you'll owe the IRS a lot or be getting back a refund.

Either result could mean you need to take some additional steps while you still have time -- until Dec. 31 -- to make a difference to your 2011 taxes.

You can adjust your withholding to make up some of the impending shortfall or get a few extra dollars in your December paychecks.

You can make charitable donations that might be deductible.

Or make a few extra miscellaneous expenditures to get you over that itemized deduction's 2 percent threshold. Ditto for medical expenses that must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Or contribute to a retirement plan. This applies to self-employed folks, too.

And don't forget about using all of your flexible medical spending account so you don't lose it.

Want more tax moves to make this crazy final month of the year? Check out the the December Tax Moves over there in the ol' blog's left column. Just scroll down a bit and you're set, with plenty to do taxwise for the rest of this month.

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