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August to-do list: Vacation, shopping, school and taxes

Welcome to August. Summer is winding down, but that doesn't mean you get to slow down.

In some locations school will start this month. Or you might have 30 or so days before you have to start packing lunches and making sure the kids get to the bus stop on time.

Maybe you're planning one final summer trip. Or you're staying home, just chilling out.

Bassett hound with ears blowing in the fanHowever you plan to spend these Dog Days of summer, you also should make some time for some August Tax Moves that could help cut your tax bill.

Tax-free shopping: The month started with tax holidays in 12 states.

Four more states -- Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas -- will hold similar tax-saving events for shoppers by mid-month.

They traditionally are advertised as back-to-school events, but in many places you can pick up a wide variety of items free of state and local sales taxes.

Tax-saving educational savings accounts: In addition to spending money on the kids new school clothes and supplies, consider saving some money for their future education costs.

A 529 plan is a tax-smart way to pay for college costs. And if your youngster is applying for college, the Internal Revenue Service can help you fill out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts don't allow you to stash as much education cash as 529s, but a Coverdell's tax-free distributions can be used to pay IRS-qualified school costs while the kids are still in kindergarten through grade 12.

Business + personal travel = tax help: And if you're planning to shoehorn in one more holiday outing before the kids are back in class, consider combining your personal travel with a business trip. As long as you follow the tax rules, Uncle Sam might help pay some of your travel costs.

August_tax_moves_160You can find more August Tax Moves over in the ol' blog's right column. Just scroll down to below the tax filing extension countdown clock and check them out.

They could help you make the most of this last month of summer while savings some tax dollars, too.


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