(credit: CBS)

by Barry Steiner CPA (Former IRS agent)

Managing a tax burden has never been more difficult, whether you’re managing your individual tax rates, the rates on your investments, the taxes on your privately held or pass-through business, or the income of executives and shareholders at your company. Lawmakers have been aggressively using the tax code to try to get the economy back on track, and there are now more ways than ever to reduce your tax liability – however, all of them take planning.

10. Look over your tax situation during the year

The end of the year is always a good time to check your current financial situation and plan for yourself and your business. Think about cash flow, health care, retirement, investment and estate planning. Update your will, powers of attorney and health care choices for any changes that may have occurred during the year. Use the open enrollment period to make changes to employer-sponsored programs that could reduce next year’s taxable income. HAS’s and flexible spending accounts for dependent care/ medical expenses allow you to use pre-tax dollars to save on your taxes.

Your Weekly Tax Jokes

“Monday, April l5th, taxes are due. I just don’t pay them. Yeah, this year Arthur Anderson did my taxes, I’m getting $6 billion back. “- Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday the IRS announced that obese Americans are entitled to certain tax breaks. Apparently, under the new rules, you’re allowed to claim two or more chins as dependents.” – Conan O’Brien

“If your accountant is Arthur Anderson … today is the last day you could have your tax documents shredded by April 15th.” – David Letterman

“I hate to be the one to remind you, but just pretty soon it is going to be April 15th, it is going to be tax time. You know what I am saying? Are you ready? Well you know when something like this happens New Yorkers always try to put the best face they can on a situation. For example the hookers in Times Square, for an extra $50 they will handle your extension.” – David Letterman

Click here to see previous Tax Tips from Barry R. Steiner.

Barry R. Steiner is a Chicago-based CPA and former IRS Agent. He’s the author of the best-selling income tax guide “Pay Less Tax Legally” and was a regularly featured guest on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America”. Barry has maintained his own tax practice for the past 40 years, and most recently has authored two e-books: “Infernal Residue” and “Kiss My IRS”. More info at KissMyIRS.com »