But regardless of where you live, time is rapidly winding down as far as tax moves you can make to reduce your final 2013 tax bill.
Or maybe you checked the right column's December Tax Moves running calendar.
If so, thanks for reading and good for you and your coming tax bill.
If not, here are the few tax moves you can realistically -- more or less -- make this New Year's Eve.
1. Buy a car.
The state and local sales tax option is still available for the 2013 tax year. This means that if you itemize, you can choose whether to deduct state and local income taxes or sales taxes. If you opt for sales taxes, the added local charges on your vehicle (or boat or plane) count. The can even be added to the standard sales tax amount the Internal Revenue Service provides for each state if you decide to use that figure instead of adding up all your receipts.
2. Sell losing stocks.
The market's done well, but maybe you or your broker weren't the savviest investors. If you sell your losing stocks today, you can write off those losses against any capital gains you have. If you don't have any capital gains, you can use up to $3,000 in losses against your ordinary income. If you have more than three grand in bad stocks, you can carry the excess forward to future tax years. And consider getting a new investment adviser in 2014.
3. Get married. Or divorced.
Your filing status at the end of the year determines how you file your return. Now I'm not saying taxes should trump romance, but they're something to be considered. Some tax breaks are better for married couples. But then, you also could face the marriage penalty if you both work and earn around the same amount. At this late date, it's probably easier to tie the knot than to severe the bonds of legal matrimony, especially if you're ringing in 2014 in Las Vegas.
4. Have a kid.
I know the logistics here. This is not something you can do without about nine months of previous planning. But if you are about to deliver, don't try to wait for the First Baby of the Year prizes. You'll get a big tax filing bonus is the new addition arrives before 2013 leaves. Your new baby will be an added 2013 exemption, which is $3,900 for 2013. And you get that amount when you file your taxes next year without having had to change even one diaper the previous year!
5. Give to charity.
Donations to qualified nonprofits are deductible if you itemize. You can contribute money, either by check or credit card, or donate household goods. Just make sure you get them in the mail or dropped off at the charity's collection center today.
6. See your doctor or dentist.
If you itemize and plan on counting medical expenses, a last-minute trip to your physician or dentist could help you get over the 10 percent of adjusted gross income hurdle you must clear. Also, if you have a medical flexible spending account, Dec. 31 could be the last day you can make an allowable FSA expenditure for which you can be reimbursed.
7. Contribute to your IRA.
Yes, you do have until the April 15 filing deadline to add to your individual retirement account, be it a Roth or traditional IRA. But the sooner you put the money into your IRA, the more time it has to earn for your eventual retirement. And if you're contributing to a traditional IRA, you might be able to deduct the amount on your 2013 taxes.
OK, time's short, so let's wrap this up. Get to these year-end tax moves now and you'll still have plenty of time to get ready for tonight's party.
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