Tax issues to consider before filing

The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to consider possible tax issues before making their year end tax moves for the 2011 tax year:

Contribute to a Retirement Account - The maximum Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contribution for the 2011 tax year is $5,000 ($6,000 if age 50 or older). The Retirement Savings Contribution Credit or "Saver's Credit" of up to $2,000 is also available to taxpayers who contribute to a plan and whose income is generally less than $55,500.

Go Green - Taxpayers who make energy-related improvements to their homes in 2011, such as replacement windows or doors, insulation or energy-efficient heating or cooling equipment, may be eligible for Energy Tax Credits. The maximum credit available is $500.

Sell the Losers - Consider a portfolio adjustment. Taxpayers can deduct capital losses up to the amount of capital gains plus $3,000.

Gift Giving - One can gift as much as $13,000 in cash or property in 2011 to another person without having to file a gift tax return.

Common Deductions - In the education arena, full-time teachers can deduct up to $250 for out-of-pocket expenses, qualifying parents can deduct up to $4,000 for tuition and fees.

Business Deductions - Some business taxpayers may benefit by buying and placing an asset into service before year's end by using a Code Section 179 deduction.

Save Receipts and Paperwork - There's no better substitute for a reminder than accurate recordkeeping.

To access IRS forms, publications or any of the above information, go to IRS.go