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Now let’s turn to more 2013 tax reminders to help avoid last-minute errors

Check the balance in your flexible spending account. You must clean it out by Dec. 31 if your employer has not implemented either the 2½-month grace period or the new $500 carryover rule. Otherwise, you forfeit any money left in your account.

If you are making a gift by check, be sure the donee deposits it in 2013 if you... want the money to count as a 2013 gift for gift tax purposes. Alternatively,deliver a certified check to the recipient this year. That will count as a 2013 gift, even if the donee does not deposit it into his or her bank account until next year.
Remember that if you don’t use up the full $14,000-per-donee exclusion this year, you lose the shortfall forever. You can’t give a donee extra next year to make up for it.

If you’re giving securities, endorse them over to the donee and deliver them by year-end if you want the gift to count for 2013. If you send them to the corporation late in the year to be retitled, the transfer process might not be completed by Dec. 31.

Mail checks for deductible items before year-end to ensure a 2013 write-off. You’re able to claim the deduction this year even if the checks don’t clear until Jan. And make sure you know the tax rules if you are charging deductible items.

For charges that you make with a retail store credit card, you are allowed to claim the deduction for the item only in the tax year in which you pay the bill.

For transactions made with a bank credit card, you take the write-off in the tax year that you charged the goods, even if you pay the bill next year.

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