10 Ways to Improve Your Finances Before Year-End

By Ben Steverman - 2011-12-12T16:43:49Z

Photograph by Joseph Rodriguez

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Give to Charity

If you itemize your taxes, an end-of-year donation to charity may lower tax bills. Not sure which charity to choose? You can put cash or investments in a donor-advised fund which permits you to get the tax benefit this year. You can then direct which charity the funds should go to in the future. Under one tax break slated to end in 2011, people 70 and a half or older can donate up to $100,000 directly to a nonprofit from a traditional individual retirement account. That satisfies the annual distribution requirement while avoiding taxes on the IRA withdrawal.