Before making any year-moves, however, be sure to estimate your 2014 income, said Oprandi at Ameriprise. Depending on how much you bring in, you may be subject to deduction phaseouts.
Worse, if you fall into the Alternative Minimum Tax, a parallel tax system with its own set of rules and rates, you may not be eligible to claim deductions at all. (State and local property taxes, for example, are not deductible under the AMT.)
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"If you think you might be subject to the AMT or have been in the past, consult a tax professional," said Oprandi. "Charitable contributions and other deductions could very well be disallowed."
Year-end tax planning can be effective, but it also takes time.
The sooner you get started, the more opportunities you will have to reduce what you owe to Uncle Sam.
—By Shelly Schwartz, special to CNBC.com