Although the end of the year is quickly approaching, there's still time to scrutinize your tax situation and zero in on strategies to help trim your 1997 tax liability. Year-end planning is especially critical this year because of the new Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. The law contains more than 800 changes and nearly 300 new provisions to the IRS code, according to CCH Inc., a provider of legal, tax and business information in Riverwoods, Illinois.
Except for a cut in the capital gains tax from 28 percent to 20 percent, however, most of the new tax law's changes won't affect your 1997 return. But they will impact the tax moves you make in the new year.
As far as your 1997 tax return is concerned, you have until December 31 to put your strategies in place. "Too often, when April rolls around, taxpayers look back and say `I have all this income, and I wish I had written off more expenses last year,' " says Susan Jacksack, a small-business analyst with CCH. "But at that point, it's too late to do much about it."