As the year winds down, tax professionals are gearing up for the coming season by checking supplies, test-driving software, training additional staff, and packaging year-end planning tips to their clients."It's never too late for tax planning," said New York City-based CPA Marc Albaum. "You've got till the ball drops to take action, and if you do it later than that, then you've got an early start for 2006."

"Year-end planning helps you do two things at once," noted John Battaglia, director of Deloitte & Touche's National Private Client Advisors Practice. "At the same time you're getting the information together for tax planning, you're organizing to do the return itself, so there's less work in March."

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