If you're weary of focusing on holiday gifts and company parties, you may want to give some attention to another end-of-year ritual: tax-planning.
For the thrifty and the wise, December can be as important a month for taxes as April. That's because December is the last chance to take advantage of money-saving steps before the tax and calendar years end. For investors, its doubly important.
Taxes may be inevitable, but they have certainly not been predictable in the last year or two, and 2012 looks likely to bring more of the same. Key tax provisions are set to expire (again), providing significant changes from income brackets, to stock dividends, to inheritance.
Tax policy also happens to be a major area of disagreement in Washington at a time when leaders are not only trying to address a gaping hole in the government's balance sheet, but also positioning their parties for an election that decides the presidency and perhaps the Senate majority.