December 8, 2008 in City

10 ways to save on your taxes

Shawn Vestal
 

Maybe you haven’t started thinking about your taxes yet.

But it’s not too early to do so.

Here are 10 things you might consider doing before 2009 gets here, according to the Associated Press:

1. Defer income. If your company is still giving holiday bonuses, ask for yours in January. If you work for yourself, delay sending invoices to push receiving payments into next year.

2. Donate cash or in-kind gifts like clothing and furniture to qualified charities and make sure you get receipts.

3. Consider selling investments that have lost value: The IRS allows capital losses of up to $3,000 more than reported capital gains.

4. Prepay local real estate or other property taxes.

5. If your medical expenses are close to 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, consider prepaying expected expenses for next year or having elective procedures done before the year is over.

6. Prepay tuition for next semester if you qualify for Hope or Lifetime Learning tax credits, which are available for individuals earning less than $58,000 and married couples filing joint returns earning less than $116,000. The IRS Web site has more details about the credits.

7. Make gifts of up to $12,000 for general purposes or unlimited gifts for educational purposes. Consider making that gift to a child’s or grandchild’s 529 college plan.

8. Extend subscriptions to professional journals, pay union or professional organization dues, and enroll in and pay tuition for job-related courses.

9. Maximize contributions to IRAs and Roth IRAs.

10. Invest in alternative energy products for your home or buy an alternative-fuel vehicle that qualifies for a tax credit.

For more, go to www.irs.gov.

Big screen, little price

You’d be hard-pressed to call an enormous television a frugal purchase.

But prices for the big flat-screens are plunging into the bargain basement this winter, according to industry projections.

Forty-two-inch flat-screens that sold for more than $1,500 last year are going for less than $1,000 this year, according to McClatchy. Overall, prices for consumer electronics are expected to decline from 2007 levels by 35 percent or more.

The big TVs are among the hottest Christmas gifts around. One survey estimates that 25 percent of shoppers will buy a flat-screen TV this holiday season.

Save on watching

Speaking of TV, here are some ways you can save entertainment dollars, from the Dallas Morning News.

You can always go with the rabbit ears and save on cable TV. If you want to get rid of cable, while still watching cable shows and movies, there are free, legal sites that can help. Hulu.com and YouTube have some shows and movies, and pay services like iTunes and Netflix have streaming video.

Or you can always explore a cheaper cable package.


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