Year-End Tax Tips

Time is running out to make a few extra bucks from Uncle Sam

By Consumer Bob
|  Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011  |  Updated 9:24 AM PDT
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Year-End Tax Tips

New calls to "tax the rich".

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Year-End Tax Tips

Don't let another year go by without doing these important things for your taxes.
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There is a deadline coming -- and it has nothing to do with buying presents.

It's a tax deadline.

If you want to take certain deductions on your taxes for this year, then you only have until the end of the year to do something about it.

Charitable Donations
The most common year-end tax move is a charitable donation. Thrifts stores realize that many people want to write off their donations and the stores are ready to help you do it -- from clothes, to cars to computers.

With any sort of charitable contribution, make sure you have proof you made that contribution before year's end.

Charity Scams
Make sure you're donating to a legitimate charity -- especially if you're handing over a check.

Look out for sound alike charities, charities that pressure you to donate or charities that want to come to your home to pick up the money.

Make sure they have a hard address to send the money to. A post office box is a red flag for an illegitimate charity.

Expiring Deductions
In the law there are several deductions and credits that may sunset after this year, depending on what congress does to act on them. As we have them now, today, act now before the year ends to take advantage of them on your 2011 return.

A few of those deductions include writing off state sales taxes on large ticket items like cars, out of pocket expenses for teachers, and treating mortgage insurance as an interest payment.

Itemizing Deductions
To qualify for most of itemized deductions you have to file a “Schedule A” form with the Internal Revenue Service.

Two thirds of tax payers do not itemize, and therefore cannot get the deductions.

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