- Days left

12 Money-Saving Year-End Tax Tips


2011 Tax Guide"Tax time" isn't just April 15 (or whatever day you prepare and mail your return). There are opportunities all year long to minimize the amount of money you fork over to Uncle Sam.

Although the end of 2011 is near, it's not too late to make sure you don't owe more than you need to. Here are some tax-smart moves to make before you head out to that New Year's Eve party. Note that some of these tax saving strategies only apply if you can itemize your deductions and you're not subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax. You should check with a tax pro to see which strategies will work, and work best, for you.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Selena Maranjian holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Bees Command Ctr

Those comments were helpful,thanks for printing them

December 30 2011 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

every one seems to be getting a tax decrease except the senior who is collecting social security.he has to work to keep his head above water.If his income for a couple is above 32000 dollars social security is taxable.Does any one in congress know about this,or they just do not give a DAMM.

December 27 2011 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fed res dollar printing has increased to keep up with US treasury's need for them as debt buyer of last resort. Euro is doing same for their debt but doesn't hold the luxury as world's res currency. Fed exports it's inflation to the world euro can't & WILL hypor inflate to ZERO. Europ will run to the dollar as others trade for gld/slvr. Even with small demand increase gld/slvr price rise outside the fed's ability to keep suprpressed & dollar will start its final fall, world WILL panic & gld/slvr will BE only reserve currency. World fiat monotary system is collapsing & we face deep depression. Got Gold? China & India does, why's that you figure?

December 27 2011 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Most folks overpay federal and state income taxes because they will neither learn the basic ins and outs of the tax code nor will they do their own taxes via any of the excellent tax preparation programs available. Meanwhile, a third party preparer will never be as interested in reducing your taxes as you should be.

December 26 2011 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One of the major problems in our country is that the politicians are willing to give entitlements to buy elections. What has happened to the self respect of the Americans like my grandparents had by surviving as dirt farmers. My grandparents taught us to be self reliant and that if we hoped for something we had to work for it through education and determination. You set your goals and did what you had to do honestly which gave you self pride. Some of our young people are not getting that at home and in their daily lives....nor encouragement from our government by handing out freebies and back breaking entitlements paid by the working people in our country. The United States bank account is overdrawn and we must stop writing checks to those who have contributed nothing to our country's success and that also includes foreign aid.

December 26 2011 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JUDY MCCANN's comment

I love you Judy but our world is gone ,there is no agenda for taken responsibility I believe ,The lawyers have made it impossiable to fix this . Any way that we can think to make people responsible is illegal or violates their rights.People cannot pay their mortage it is the banks fault ,yes some lenders did go to far and the people involved should be accountable ,however can we believe that the takers of such money cannot add or subtract!!! On your comment we continue to write checks to people who contribute nothing and be careful what you say it may violate their rights!!! This country is finished buried in the idea of things that where did years ago and missaplied to current events.Thank you for your comments

December 27 2011 at 11:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

You can't blame the people in congress when its the people who vote them in election after election hoping for better results. The elderly in this country remember the way this country USE to be vote out the incumbants, kick out those who engage in insider trader (yes, congress people can do it legally), the young ones who were voted in are the only ones working to turn around the cronyism that is congress today.

December 26 2011 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hola Tavo



December 26 2011 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hola Tavo's comment


December 26 2011 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joe has the right idea to abolish the tax structure and kick all the politicians out of office. Unfortunately, replacements in congress will likely only be marginally better than those we boot out. So it is unlikely the basic tax structure will be changed. Given that, the burden is on the tax payer to insure he knows enough about the tax system to insure he pays the minimum tax on his hard earned income. While CPA's and registered agents can help, recoginize they make their living out of the complicated system. And, the more they help, the more they make. The more you know the better so you can look out for your own interests. You know your business better than any one your to to for help with your taxes. They are limited to what you bring in for them to see and what answers you give to their questions. How do you know they are asking all the right questions and follow up question to your answers? How do you know they have taken the time your return deserves? Or, have they rushed through your session so another one can be held? It is your money, protect it.

December 26 2011 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here is a tax tip I use. I an in the stage of life where required minimum distributions re required on my IRA's and 401K. Since the RMD will go up every year, eventually I will be in the upper tax brackets. In December of each year, I do a hypothetical tax calculation to determine my incremental tax rate and that point where the next $ of income is taxes at the next higher bracket. I then make a special withdrawal from my IRA to insure my taxable income reached that level. The theory is to tax as much as I can at the lowest rate, because next year the bracket will be higher. Plus, it is likely that our supreme leader will be increasing taxes in the future.

December 26 2011 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

we need a Fair Tax, RIGHT NOW!

December 26 2011 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply