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5 Things to Do Before December that You'll Thank Yourself for in April

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Be Philanthropic

We'd like to believe that everyone makes charitable contributions completely out of the goodness of their hearts -- we would never be so cynical to suspect that some of us are donating simply to get a tax deduction. But OK, we'll admit that the truth might be somewhere in between. And if you are at all concerned with those deductions, now's the time for a friendly reminder that you can deduct only the contributions you make during the actual tax year -- so you need to send that check or donate your items by Dec. 31, not April 15. While you're at it, make sure that the charity in question is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, and keep those receipts and official records. You're going to need to itemize all contributions on your 1040 form.

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