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Tax moves to make in August 2012

How's your summer been? Hot enough for you?

If not, there are some sizzling tax moves you can make this month to deflect some of that infernal Internal Revenue Service heat.

August_tax_moves_160Let's start with the obvious: cooling off.

Although you no longer get a tax break for relatively easy home energy-efficient improvements, if you're interested in alternative energy solutions Uncle Sam will still help.

These systems -- solar, wind and geothermal -- are more costly, but the available tax credit for eligible home (or second home) upgrades could come to as much as 30 percent of the costs, including installation.

If your house already is comfortable, then think about helping out others who aren't coping as well. Many charitable groups provide relief services to those who don't have and can't afford cooling systems.

And any cash donations, which in IRS-speak means not just currency but also contributions by check or credit card, you make to IRS-qualified nonprofits could be tax deductible.

We couldn't talk about August without mentioning the many state sales tax holidays that on this month's calendar. Twelve states hold these the so-called back-to-school tax holidays around the first weekend of August. But a handful have tax-free events later in the month.

And let's not forget that Mother Nature still can cause problems. The Atlantic hurricane season is about to peak, so prepare now both physically and financially for possible storms. That includes taking a complete inventory of your property just in case you have to file storm-related insurance or disaster tax claims.

I know time is tight. You're trying to squeeze in one more vacation trip before the kids head back to school.

But spend a few minutes checking out these and the many other August Tax Moves over there in the ol' blog's left column. They could help save you some valuable tax money.

And that's really, really cool!


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