8 End of the Year Tax Tips

A shortlist of things you can do to to shore up your tax situation

4.) IRA contributions

If you have an IRA separate from your 401K, you have until April 15th of the upcoming year to contribute to your retirement savings and still make it count towards your taxes.

5.) Be aware of medical expenses

If expenses for medical care are close to the 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income needed to declare them as a tax deduction, go ahead and schedule a procedure or appointment that you need anyway before the end of the year.

6.) American Opportunity Tax Credit

Take advantage of furthering your education. This credit expanded the existing Hope Credit, and is a tax break for education that allows you to claim a credit of up to $2,500 of the cost of qualified tuition and related expenses, and up to $1,000 of the credit could come back to the taxpayer as a refund. The credit has been extended through 2012, but will also expire in 2012. It may be beneficial to pay 2013 tuition in 2012 to take full advantage of the credit.

7.) Hire a registered tax professional

Choose your tax preparer wisely. The IRS is continuing its efforts to regulate tax preparers, and ramping up its efforts to hold tax preparers accountable by weeding out unscrupulous ones to include fingerprinting and competency exams. There is also a registration process and issuance of a personal preparer tax identification number or PTIN to each. When hiring a tax professional, ask about his or her IRS registration status in addition to questions targeting competency and ability to fulfill your tax prep needs.

8.) Stay apprised of changes.

Find out about tax law changes, helpful hints and IRS announcements during the year by subscribing to IRS Tax Tips through www.IRS.gov or IRS2go (the mobile app). The IRS issues tips regularly during summer and tax season.

Black Enterprise contributor Jennifer Streaks is a Finance Expert, Author & Pundit. Continue the conversation by following her on twitter @JStreaks or on her website at  www.JenniferStreaks.com

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