The end of the year is the prime time for advisors to help taxpayers improve their positions. By taking smart steps, they can minimize the effects of new taxes and higher rates. A year ago, no one knew what the tax landscape would be. The problem now is that much is new and more complex.

"The end of last year was a disaster for tax planning," says Grafton "Cap" Willey, managing director of the accounting firm CBIZ. "There was a lot of year-end planning last year, but it was done without any certainty as to what would happen.

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