Are you (or a relative) older than 70 1/2? Be sure to take the required minimum distribution from your IRA by Dec. 31 (April 1 if you turned 70ｽ in 2006). Otherwise you'll get walloped by a 50% tax on the money you should have pulled out but didn't.
"It is astonishing how many people miss the deadline," says Jay Hutchins, a certified financial planner in Lebanon, N.H. And here's a new option: In both 2006 and 2007, you can donate up to $100,000 directly to charity from your IRA, by-passing the usual taxes on withdrawals - and the gift counts toward your required distribution.
Move quickly, though: The gifting deadline is Dec. 31. And because of the extra paperwork and logistics involved, some IRA administrators are setting deadlines earlier in December.