A few tax strategies from the pros

FRESNO, Calif.

A new year brings new tax laws, so Certified Public Accountant Arthur Moye suggests taking advantage of the ones in place now, while you still can. "If you're going to make a charitable donation, make sure it's before the close of 2011 and make sure you have a written receipt."

It appears families in Fresno are taking his advice. Dozens of people showed up to the Salvation Army to drop off computers, clothing and furniture prior to the December 31st deadline. It's a tax write-off Tobbie Biglione says she looks forward to every year.

Tobbie Biglione said, "And it is something we prepare for at least by June/December we start gathering things to bring down to the Salvation Army."

Home energy improvements can also save you money. Moye says installing things like new insulation, windows and water heaters can provide up to 500 dollars in deductions. You may also be eligible for an energy efficient property credit which is 30-percent of the cost of solar, wind, or geothermal.

Moye said, "Also education expenses are a huge one that people aren't talking about much."

If you're a teacher buying supplies for the classroom, you can deduct up to 250 dollars for those supplies by the end of the year. If you're a parent of a college student - you may be eligible for up to 4-thousand dollars in something called a tuition and fees deduction. The only stipulation, you must make less than $130 thousand a year as a couple, less than $65 thousand when filing as an individual. And last but not least, if you're expecting a big end-of-the-year bonus.

Moye said, "I'd contact your employer to see if you can defer that to 2012, especially if you'll be in a lower tax bracket in 2012."

A move that could save you hundreds of dollars - until at least next year.

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