Pay Your Property Taxes and Sales Taxes Prior to Year End

If you’re looking to reduce your federal taxes for 2008 here are two things I’m doing that you should consider before the end of the year:

Pay Your Property Taxes

Here in Texas my property taxes aren’t due until January 31. However, these taxes can be deducted as an expense against your income on your 2008 federal tax return, as long as you pay them in 2008. I paid mine a week or so ago in full with the money I’d saved through my employee stock purchase plan (ESPP).

If you escrow your property taxes (i.e. pay them with your mortgage payment) then consider making an extra payment or two prior to year end. This will decrease your taxes by increasing the amount you can deduct for mortgage interest expense and property taxes.

Pay Your Sales Taxes

If your plan is to make a large consumer purchase (e.g. car, boat, etc.) within the next few weeks, consider making the purchase prior to year end. The sales taxes incurred on the transaction can be deducted from your 2008 taxes.

We’re considering a new car purchase over the next few days. We’ve been able to secure some very reasonable financing and we’re aiming to make the purchase within a day or two. The sales tax we’re paying on the new car can then be deducted as expense on our 2008 tax return, lowering our taxes.

A word of caution…don’t let the “tail wag the dog” here. Unless you were already planning a big purchase, don’t shoot for this deduction. Making a big consumer purchase is best when you’ve had time to evaluate your needs and create a plan to get the best deal. Don’t go buy something big just to get a little tax deduction.

Other Year End Tax Tips

9 Year End Tax Savings Tips @ Free From Broke
Year End Tax Moves @ Cash Money Life
Year-End Tax Tips: 2008 @ Million Dollar Journey
17 Tips for End of Year Tax Planning @ My Dollar Plan
Year End Income Tax Guide (Part 1) @ Tough Money Love

What other year-end tax plans do YOU have?

Last Edited: December 29, 2008 @ 1:26 pm The content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

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  1. Thanks for the mention PT – Happy Holidays!

  2. Sales tax on a new car? Thanks for the info, I have to dig out my receipts and make sure I include that one!

  3. ahhh – nice, that’s one I didn’t think about! Paying the property taxes has been a huge pain in my a$$ since I didn’t wrap it in my mortgage. I initially set up an MMA to send money to and get the interest rate to get a few bucks extra, but forgot to set the auto withdrawl from the bank and had to find 3k “extra” last quarter, ugh…

  4. @FFB – Yeah, you can deduct any type of sales tax as an itemized deduction. Most people just take the estimate that the irs provides here: But with a car purchase it would likely be better to take the actual.

    @hank – still, you’re in control. i hate giving my lender control of ins, prop tax, hoa. I just want to pay them for my house loan and not risk having them screw up other things. still, like you say, it can be a pain in the ars if you don’t have the auto save thing going on.

  5. I deducted my sales tax when I lived in TX, but I’m in OH now so I deduct my state taxes… I miss the days of the low Texas taxes!

    Thanks for the mention. :)

  6. says:

    Thanks for the info! I didn’t know about the property tax deduction.

  7. Thanks for the mention and good job on the “don’t let the tail wag the dog” tip. Saving on taxes (or saving on anything) is never a good reason for buying something you don’t really need or cannot afford.