Tips to Save on '02 Income Taxes

Retailers were hoping for your money this holiday, Uncle Sam knows he's going to get it.

But how much can be up to you.

"Tax avoidance is what we're all entitled to under the law," says Jose Feliciano, CFP of Feliciano Financial Group in Tyler.  Note: Tax avoidance, not tax evasion.

He says you have until the close of this year to find some big deductions.

"Suppose you're in a tech fund, you might want to buy a new tech fund. And capturing those losses, even though you didn't get out of the market on that day."

Tip # 1: You can take those capital losses right now -- up to $3000 dollars off your ordinary income.  And a lot of folks can do this.

Tip # 2: "Pay your mortgage in December."  Making an extra payment now will save you money.

Also, "If you're a business owner, you might want to put a lot of your expenses on your credit card."

Tip # 3: Take all those business expenses now.  It's deductible, though you'll pay off the credit card later.

Tip: # 4: And if you're still in the holiday spirit, charities can always use your help

Feliciano: "It benefits you to do that, but the main thing is if you want to give to charity, that should be something you want to do."

"The key is being proactive and seeking out what you're entitiled to and what you can do.  And you need to do it before December 31st and not wait until April 15th."

Except for Tip # 5:  Starting an Individual Retirement Account.

"You have until April 15th," Feliciano says. Plus, you can contribute more starting now.

"[The IRS has] increased the limit to $3,000.  If you're over fifty, $3,500 a year. And you have until April 15th to take advantage of that."

For more tips, check out the links on the right hand side of this page.