USA TODAY - If you, like most Americans, are spending the next few weekends slaving over a hot tax form, you're probably wondering: Can I claim my dog as a dependent, and if I do, would she be able to get Social Security, too?
The answers are no, and no. Also, you should probably not take up a life of crime. There's precious little you can do - legally - to reduce your 2013 taxes. But cheer up. You can do things now to reduce your 2014 taxes.
By and large, the opportunity to reduce your 2013 tax bill went away at midnight on Dec. 31. The exception: You may be able to make a deductible IRA contribution for the 2013 tax year.
The key factor is whether you have a retirement plan at work. Retirement plans include 401(k) plans and other plans you contribute to, as well as pension plans. Box 13 on your W-2 form will let you know whether you're covered in a retirement plan.