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Special section 7 Bankrate experts with 7 top tips for '07

Although taxes may not be on your mind, remember Uncle Sam is not far behind. Here are seven tips to help you get off to a good start once the holiday cheer wears off.


7 moves for the 2007 tax-filing season

It's the end of the year, and everyone is in holiday gear. Although taxes may not be on your mind, remember Uncle Sam is not far behind. Here are seven tips to help you get off to a good start, once the holiday cheer wears off. So listen closely to this advice, that isn't naughty but rather nice.

7 moves for tax-filing season

1. Accelerate income. Now that we've had a change of parties in Congress, you have to wonder what will happen to tax rates. Our previous Congress extended the 15 percent long-term capital gains tax rate until 2010 to provide more stability in the markets. However, ordinary rates can still go upward. Although it's too early to tell what our new legislators will do, if you can accelerate income this year, it will guarantee your tax rate.

2. Ask a pro. You can never go wrong by having good professional advice when it comes to your money and the future that it guarantees. Not only should you be looking to hire a good accountant or tax preparer, you should also check on your investment performance, as well. A Certified Financial Planner (this is a licensed profession) with the right credentials can help you at tax time and with planning for the future. Bankrate's tips for hiring a professional can help you choose a tax pro that best fits your needs.

3. Review your retirement. Re-evaluate your retirement plan contributions. The 2007 limit for 401(k) contributions is raised to $15,500. Simple IRAs at work are increased to $10,500. Do your best to maximize pension and IRA contributions. Even though they may or may not be tax-deductible, IRAs or Roth IRAs are great forced savings plans. The 2006 contribution limits to IRAs remain at $4,000 and an additional $1,000 (up from $500) for those over 50 before the end of this year. If you're in business for yourself, there are some excellent pension plan opportunities available, but some of the best require that you establish the plan before year-end.

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