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Financial Aid

Family finances: Make the most of year-end tax moves

There weren't any big changes in the federal tax code in 2015, and given the ongoing gridlock in Washington, it's unlikely lawmakers will do more than tinker with the code in 2016. That means the standard year-end advice still makes sense for most taxpayers. Unless you expect your income to rise next year, try to claim as many deductible expenses as possible by year-end so that you can take the write-offs sooner rather than later.

For example, pay your January mortgage bill before December 31 so you can deduct the interest on your 2015 tax return. Make sure your charitable contributions are made before the end of the year, too. If you use your credit card to make donations by New...