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Increase your tax deductions
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You have another month to wrap up your 2009 tax year. Taking even a few steps now can give you more deductions from your taxes next April. Here are some ideas:
• Make an additional mortgage payment this year and get a larger mortgage interest statement. That amount gets deducted from your Schedule A, assuming you itemize and don’t take the standard deduction. Be sure to send it early enough that it’s included in your 2009 payments.
• If your property taxes aren’t escrowed, you likely get a bill with the amount due in two equal installments, one payable now and one in the spring. Pay all of it now and deduct it on your Schedule A.
• Make de-cluttering part of your holiday pre-guest cleaning, and donate the usable stuff to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Get a receipt for your donation with each item clearly listed. Consider using a software program called It’s Deductible made by Turbo Tax that will help you assign a realistic value. Keep your paperwork and deduct it on the Schedule A.
• If you itemize your deductions, your medical and dental deductions have to exceed the 7.5 percent Adjusted Gross Income before you actually get a deduction. If you know you’re already over that amount, consider using December for medical and dental procedures and add those to your deductions for the year. Remember to add up all of your medical mileage, too.
• Are you self-employed? Stock up on office supplies you’ll need for the coming months. Buy computer paper by the carton and printer cartridges by the dozen if you’ll use them before they dry up. (Check the expiration dates.) Consider whether it’s time for a new computer, printer, external hard drive or monitor, and buy them now. Watch the store sales between now and the end of the year for bargains.
If your office phone is likely to fail in the next six months, consider buying a new one. You don’t actually have to use it until the old one stops working. Be sure to save all your receipts. Pre-pay any subscriptions you order for business. Defer income, if possible, by sending out invoices near the end of December so the payments won’t arrive until January.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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