One of our clients is a savvy financial adviser who’s been getting lots of publicity recently with his smart “fiscal cliff” tax-savings tips.

If Congress doesn’t agree to extend tax relief measures set to expire Dec. 31, our client says, 2012’s tax rates may be the lowest we see for years to come. He advises people to act now to take advantage. For instance, they should pay their January health insurance premium in December, and convert part of their IRA account to a Roth IRA so they can pay 2012 tax rates on that money.

As a businesswoman, I always consider potential investments as we approach the end of the fiscal year. Do I need additional write-offs in April to balance the year’s gains? Frankly, that’s something everyone should think about, whether they’re in business or not.

Those messages are especially timely and true for people who expect to promote a product or book next year. Planning and paying for marketing services now is not only smart from a tax perspective, it’s the best holiday present you can give yourself!

I see all too many people who’ve devoted themselves to creating a great product or writing a terrific book, only to realize once it’s finished that they have no way to get the word out about it. They haven’t planned for marketing, they haven’t set aside money for promotion, and they’re now stuck with a garage full of dreams gathering dust. Please don’t let that be you!

If you think your product or book will be ready to release in 2013, plan now for how you’ll promote it. Pay for it now, if possible, and save the receipt for your 2012 tax returns. Whether you’re acting as a business or an individual, the investment you make today may be worth a whole lot more in terms of tax deductions than the one you make next year.

And yes, you can pay now for a fixed publicity package to be delivered when you’re ready – even if it’s not until this time next year. Look for a PR firm that has been around for years so you’ll be assured it will still be in business when you’re ready to launch. I advise finding a pay for performance model as opposed to a retainer firm. With pay for performance, you know exactly what you’re paying for up front rather than shelling out money each month with no promises about what you’ll get in return.

Before choosing a firm, be sure you understand what you’re paying for. Find out who exactly will be handling your account and what his or her experience is. Ask to see samples of recent media coverage they’ve obtained for clients.

In the meantime, I’m hoping the president and Congress can agree on measures that will keep us from tumbling over the fiscal cliff and straight into another recession. But I’m not going to bank on that.

And you shouldn’t either.

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