West Lafayette, Indiana - It may be the busy holiday season, but it's also the season to carve out some time for last-minute tax preparations.

Jason Stanfield, a lecturer in Purdue University's Krannert School of Management, has some tips for anyone hoping to reduce a 2014 tax bill.

They include:

* Make charitable contributions before the end of the year. He points out that the contribution must be paid in the tax year. So making a commitment this year for a contribution paid next year won’t be deductible until 2015 taxes are paid.

* Start or make additional contributions to a traditional IRA account. This is separate from contributions to a 401k retirement account and is subject to income restrictions. But these contributions may be deductible.

* Consider education expenses for next year. Any expenses for education beginning in the first three months of next year and paid by the end of this year might be eligible for 2014 tax benefits.

* Sell unwanted investments that are worth less than the amount paid for them. The losses can be used to offset capital gains on other investments.

* Consider pulling big medical procedures into the same year. Only medical expenses in excess of 10 percent of adjusted gross income are deductible.

A video of Stanfield discussing his year-end tax tips is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShooUn_5DcM