Lowering the capital-gains tax bite. Taxpayers can also deduct contributions of various kinds of property. In the case of physical property worth more than $5,000, an appraisal of its value is needed to claim the deduction.
(Read more: Millennials want to donate and save the world)
Meanwhile, individuals who gift financial securities that have appreciated in value can avoid paying the capital-gains tax they would have owed if they had sold them.
That's especially significant for those with more than $400,000 in income; their long-term capital-gains tax rate jumps to 20 percent, up from 15 percent, this year.
This also applies to securities with short-term capital gains, of under one year, which are normally taxed at marginal income tax rates. The gifting of appreciated securities, particularly after good runs in the market like this year, can also serve to bring investment portfolios back into balance.
"If a client has $10,000 in short-term capital gains on stock, they can deduct the full amount by giving it to charity," Lindell said. "I've rebalanced accounts by doing it."
The kids are all right. A gift to your child is not exactly charity—indeed, many worry about the potential negative effects of giving cash to kids—but it can be an easy way to reduce your income and tax bite.
(Read more: Year-end financial planning tips)
Taxpayers can gift up to $14,000 annually tax-free. While recipients are liable for tax on any gifts, they are likely in a much lower tax bracket. Gifts of appreciated stock can be made, but recipients must have taxable brokerage accounts to receive the assets.
Lindell suggests parents deposit a tax-free gift of up to $5,500 directly into an individual retirement account (IRA), to get kids started on a retirement savings path.
Mind your income. A number of states progressively reduce allowable deductions, including those for charitable contributions, for people over certain income thresholds. In other words, the more you make, the less you can deduct. New York, for example, passed a budget for 2013-2014 that now limits itemized deductions to 25 percent for taxpayers with more than $10 million in income.
Those earning between $1 million and $10 million are limited to a 50 percent state-tax deduction. According to Isaacson, the charitable deduction may not be fully available to taxpayers who have experienced an unusual windfall, such as from the sale of a business, this year.
"In some cases, it may be better to make the charitable donation next year to get the full deduction," Isaacson said.
—By Andrew Osterland, Special to CNBC.com