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Wrap It Up Right

Like your holiday packages, year-end finances are all about presentation--and planning.

This story appears in the December 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Like most things in life, year-end tax planning can get complicated if you let it. But it doesn't have to be. The simplest form of planning involves nothing more than deferring income into next year and/or accelerating deductions into this year. The self-employed generally have an easier time switching things up a little in the weeks before New Year's Eve, too.

Pushing income, and the tax that goes with it, into the future sounds reasonable enough. It's not hard, either. You could arrange to have your compensation or annual bonus paid in January instead of December. Or, if you're retired instead of working, you may want to hold off on December's retirement-account withdrawal until you're done humming along with that last stanza of "Auld Lang Syne."

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