1. Making charitable donations by Dec. 31, can help charities as well as the tax situation of individuals and businesses that are donating.
The state of Michigan offered special tax credits to donations made to certified organizations providing overnight accommodations, food or meals to indigents. This Michigan tax credit, which will be eliminated in 2012, is 50 percent of the contribution — or up to $100 on a single return and up to $200 on a joint return.
These credits also can be combined with any federal tax deduction.
Food banks are at www.gcfb.org or www.forgottenharvest.org.
2. Donations of unwanted furniture and clothing, should be made to the Salvation Army or other thrift stores by Dec. 31.
3. Homeowners should pay property taxes and mortgage payments so that the funds are received by Friday, Dec. 30.
4. Homeowners in need of a new appliance such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, washer or dryer should purchase it by Dec. 31, before the tax breaks expire.
5. Self-employed and small-business owners should make business equipment purchases that are needed, by Dec. 31. Small businesses can deduct the costs of qualifying business equipment and software as an expense rather than depreciating that cost over many years.
For more information, visit www.irs.gov.