Don't come looking for tax deductions next April when you finally get around to doing your tax return. The time to act is now -- at year's end -- when no one wants to think about taxes. If you want to save tax dollars next spring, here's what you should be doing now:

Give Money Away

It's the season to be charitable, and charity begins at home. Gifts of cash to family and friends aren't deductible, because they aren't IRS recognized charities -- but those gifts could reduce your ultimate estate tax (depending on when you die). You can give up to $12,000 to any number of people if you care to spread your wealth.

One good option: Open a 529 College Savings Account and you can combine up to five years of the annual gift -- for a total of $60,000 -- to grow tax-free over the years to pay for college expenses. (Tip: If you don't have children or grandchildren, open an account anyway in your name, and then you can transfer the tax-free assets for use of a "future child" to pay for college!)

Be smart about your giving. If you want to be sure your tax-deductible donation is going to be put to good use, go to www.guidestar.org , where you can check on a charity as well as actually make an instant donation online.

If you liked this article you might like

Fidelity, BlackRock Escalate ETF War

Fidelity, BlackRock Escalate ETF War

Holiday Gift for the Hardcore Investor

Holiday Gift for the Hardcore Investor

Fidelity Opens World With Trading Platform

Fidelity Opens World With Trading Platform

Big Tax Decision Awaits Those With IRAs

Big Tax Decision Awaits Those With IRAs

Bonds Reclaim Limelight After Stock Rout

Bonds Reclaim Limelight After Stock Rout