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Only a few days left to do the tax dance

By Dian Vujovich

By the time I got to the Gardens Mall yesterday, there wasn’t a parking space to be had. Never have seen all the lots so jammed. Why you would have thought it was the late 1990’s when everyone was awash in moola. Uncle Sam included.

And speaking of The Uncle, there still are a few things one can do to minimize the coming tax bill —even though not much has changed. But before going there, the IRS has made three changes that do need to be noted.

They include those itemizing their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A won’t be able to file their return until mid- to late February. Same is true for those claiming Higher Education Tuition and Fees deduction on Form 8917 and anyone claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. It’s the item found on Line 23 on Form 1040 and Line 16 on Form 1040A.

If any of the three apply to you, forget starting the New Year out by tending to your taxes. The 2011 New Year will be your year to wait.

Speaking of waiting, don’t wait to die. Okay, I know that reads horribly but for those estate tax obsessed, 2010 is the year to bid adieu to what I hope was a wonderful life if you’ve acquired enormous amounts of green backs during it. Like say George Steinbrenner did. Pass on before this year ends and there will be no estate tax to pay. None— as in not a cent. Truly a 1-year, knock it out of the park, home run for a few.

On the other hand, for the next two years, the estate tax for single filers will be $5 million and married couples $10 million. The max tax rate on amounts over those: 35 percent.

Finally, there’s still time to be generous with monies in your IRA, provided you’re age 70 or above.

Those lucky ducks can continue to donate up to $100,000 to a qualified charity and have the amount given excluded from their taxable income.

Because Congress took a while to decide what to do about the expiring tax laws enacted by the previous president, anyone deciding to do so will have an extra month—that is until January 31—to make that IRA transfer.

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