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Get a jump on tax time

Here's an idea for kicking off the '00s: File your taxes early and have your refund in time to pay off holiday credit-card bills.

KPMG, an international advisory firm, offers a few helpful tips for getting the job done:

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*Gather receipts for deductions, such as employee business expenses, charitable contributions, appraisals for large contributions, etc.

*You can still contribute to IRA accounts through April 17, 2000. Check the new rules and consider a Roth IRA. Remember, earlier contributions mean you have more time to accumulate tax-free income in your account.

*Get Social Security numbers for 1999 newborns.

*Decide on the most efficient filing method (mailing your forms into the IRS or submitting them electronically).

*Speed up the receipt of your refund by selecting the direct-deposit option. This allows your refund to be deposited directly into your bank account.

*Most important, stay organized and keep tax records in a secure place.

In addition to these quick pointers, don't overlook such time-honored tax deductions as home mortgage interest, property taxes, unreimbursed employee travel, job uniforms and tools, job-hunting costs, professional tax preparation, and moving expenses.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society