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F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k 95 9. BAL ANCE INVE STME NT GAINS AND LOSSE S Keep a close eye on your personal investments during the year. By selling appreciated assets and liquidating underperforming investments, you may match gains and losses to minimize your personal income taxes. If you have sufficient losses to offset your gains, you may deduct the losses on sales completed by December 31. Note, however, that the amount of capital losses you can use to offset ordinary income is limited to $3,000. If your net loss totals more than $3,000, you may carry losses over $3,000 forward every year until you use them up. 10. HAVING A BLE SSED EVE NT? If you're expecting the stork to visit your house this year, remember to obtain a social security number for babies born any time during 2015, right up to December 31. Put the newcomer on your personal tax return to receive the benefits of claiming the child as a dependent or claiming head of household status. 11. SAVING FOR COLLEGE ? If you're facing college tuition expenses in the years ahead, a 529 College Savings Plan can help to build your college fund and save on taxes while you're doing it. Offered by 49 states and the District of Columbia, 529 plans allow a lifetime contribution of as much as $250,000 to pay for children's college tuition. Contributions compound tax-free and withdrawals are tax-free as long as they are spent for higher education. There is no deduction on federal taxes for your contributions, but more than half the states offer a deduction on state income taxes. Check with your tax advisor. 12. VALUE YOURSELF Many professionals and small-business owners are good community members who donate some of their time and expertise to charities. "The cost of your time for those efforts is not deductible," Crawford says, "but any expenses associated with rendering the services are. So if you do any work for a nonprofit, the cost of travel is deductible; so are photocopies, long-distance phone calls, office supplies, etc., directly related to the charitable service you render." There are, of course, many other ways to minimize your tax obligation. Keep in touch with your accountant to stay current. Keeping your annual contribution to Uncle Sam to the legal minimum is the smart way to increase those valuable after-tax dollars. Getting an early start on the task and keeping tax reduction in your plans all year is a basic requirement for skillful business management. William J. Lynott is a Pennsylvania- based business writer. Contact him at 12 WAYS TO SAVE MONE Y ON TA XES Make the maximum allowable deposits into your 401(k) or IRA account as early in the year as possible.

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