Editors' pick: Originally published Dec. 1.
'Tis the season to be jolly and start thinking about ways to save money on your taxes; it should be visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, a joy that is found, in part, by not giving the IRS more money than necessary.
With some easy-to-do steps that you can take now, you can be rest assured that when the time comes to file your taxes, it'll be time to spread holiday cheer and not holiday jeer.
Bill Smith, managing director at professional accounting and services provider CBIZ MHM, cautions you should take these steps now because if you wait, they won't be available to you after the new year.
"If you don't do it now, you've lost it for this year," Smith said over the phone. "You have to do it before December 31 and then you can put a bow on it and be done with it."
Depending on whether you're a homeowner or renter, married or single, there are several ways you can help save on your taxes from laws and methods that have been around for years.
Consult a tax professional to see which of these are best for your situation.
1. Defer or accelerate income.
Smith noted that if you're looking at having a gross or adjusted gross income that significantly fluctuates, you may want to defer or accelerate some of the income, depending on your situation.
"If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is higher next year, you might want to defer it," Smith said. This would include deferring things like a bonus or if you run your own business, billing for consulting work.