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4 ways to reduce your 2011 taxes

Real Estate Tax Talk

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The end of the year is fast approaching, but there is still plenty of time to take steps to reduce your taxes for the year. Here are four simple ideas:1. Buy business equipmentIf you've been thinking about buying equipment to use in your real estate business -- whether it be a car, computers, software or anything else -- do so by the end of the year. In all likelihood you'll be able to deduct the entire amount you paid for the item in a single year instead of having to depreciate it over several years (this is not true for passenger cars, however, for which annual deductions are capped).There are some generous first-year tax deductions for business property purchases in 2011 that are unprecedented. First, there is 100 percent bonus first-year depreciation for purchases of most new equipment and software during 2011. There's also an extraordinarily high $500,000 expensing limitation, including up to $250,000 of expensing for qualified real property.2. Establish and fund retirement plans...