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Your Take: Favorite Year End Deduction?

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With the year drawing to a close, a lot of people are thinking about year end tax moves, including myself. In general, there aren’t many year end tax moves you can make on December 18th. If you’re going to buy a house and take advantage of the home buyer tax credit, you would’ve started the process by now. If you wanted to buy a car, while it’s certainly not a terrible time to buy, it’s not terribly likely you’ll be able to do an in depth search, especially with the holidays getting in the way.

However, there are a handful of steps you can take and my favorite of them all is to pick out a few charities to support. You have to be sure to follow the documentation rules for tax purposes but it can pay dividends both financially and spiritually. I won’t get into the mechanics but each year we donate some money to a half dozen charities we’ve supported in the past and find a few new ones to support on a smaller level.

Anytime you can give, whether it’s time or money, the organization benefits. It can be $10, $100, or $1,000 but the important part is to remember those who are working hard to provide more good in this world and help support them when you can.

What’s your favorite year end tax deduction? If it’s charitable giving, what organizations do you support and how? It’s always fun to learn about smaller organizations doing great work at the local level.

{ 22 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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22 Responses to “Your Take: Favorite Year End Deduction?”

  1. otipoby says:

    I usually take the year-end as an opportunity to clean out some things in my closet and take them to Goodwill. I also do that with my canned goods / dry goods and take them to the Food Bank.

    • lostAnnfound says:

      This is something we like to do at our house the end of the also. Maybe the kids or one of us got a couple new pieces of clothing as a gift, so now it’s time to make room for them, and also check to see what has been outgrown and what has not been worn in a while.

  2. Soccer9040 says:

    For me its gotta be the standard deduction. I’m not quite at the level where I can itemize.

  3. Anthony says:

    This is my first year of homeownership: I think deducting the interest from my mortgage will be the greatest thing ever! (Second will be retirement savings deductions.)

    Additionally, I will have a child within a week or so. The child tax credit will also be very nice!

  4. We are also on the standard deduction train, but I’m usually more than happy to help out a few charities when there’s opportunity.

    Student loan interest is my other favorite reduction.

  5. daenyll says:

    I’d have to go with the tuition and student loan interest for reducing taxes… don’t have much else I can get at the moment.

  6. zapeta says:

    My favorite deductions are the standard one and student loan interest….those are essentially the only ones I get.

  7. I paid off my house a few years ago, and I must say that I prefer the standard deduction with no mortgage payment to the itemized deductions of yore.

    There is a new expanded credit for higher education that looks good for me.

    I give through the year and so don’t do anything special at the end. But it’s always a good time to declutter and donate–whether clothing, housewares, or food, as an earlier commenter noted.

  8. PA Mom says:

    Here’s my favorite non-profit organization:

    http://bgwchs.petfinder.com

    They’re currently fundraising for a transport truck.

  9. jsbrendog says:

    i don’t have any other than revisiting my with holdings and trying to adjust them right this year so I don’t owe/get anything back next year and get it all up front. no tax free loan for unky sam from me

  10. RJ Weiss says:

    I also give more this month than any other month. This will be the first year I’m itemizing deductions, so I can actually take advantage of it.

    Also, I try to clean out my closet if I receive any new clothes. The old clothes go to Goodwill, but I have never taken a deduction for donating clothes.

  11. Chris says:

    charity, charity, charity

  12. Izalot says:

    Charity (usually Goodwill) and paying my January mortgage in December to claim the interest rate.

  13. Certainly any time we get some of our own money back (mortgage insurance, student loans etc) it is a small victory. But who can argue with the joy of helping others?

    oops, I can! I was disgusted earlier this year to learn how inefficient many charities are. While we give a dollar, in many cases 30-40 cents or more may be lining the pockets of the “non-profit” proprietors.

    There are a few out there that are worthwhile though. If you want all your donated dollars to go to a good cause, check out IDA’s. I wrote about it (IDAs are a Great IDEA) but it’s better just to check out a good example of one of these great organization. Look up http://www.savetogether.org

  14. Prepaying property tax is a favorite of mine.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  15. BrianC says:

    This may be the first year I itemize (for medical expenses). If not, I will at least look forward to the retirement savings deduction.

  16. Kenny says:

    Tax loss selling of stocks is my favorite one…..I will be cleaning out some losers to offset my gains in 2009.

    Charity is a big one for me.

    Home improvements in the winter time related to my home office is also a big one, although none needed this year.

    Adding more to 401(k) also if I did not hit my maximum.

    Kenny

  17. Justin W says:

    Charity! I work at a non-profit cat shelter, and (in spite of the fact that they pay me such a poor wage that I can hardly afford to donate anything) since it’s a cause I devote my working life to, I also like to donate any leftover cash there.

    (Of course, this year, “leftover cash” is a foreign concept to me, but you get the idea.)

  18. javi says:

    Even thought I can only do the standard deduction, I give to local charities that I believe in, such as the local food bank.

  19. pcallaghan says:

    This year will be somewhat lengthy, between standard deduction, charities, first home purchase, energy efficiency purchases, student loan interest..

  20. Izalot says:

    I’ve also in the past (I can’t do it this year) opened a 401k for my wife when she stayed home with the kids. I can’t open a 401k for myself as I belong to a 403b plan at work.


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