Our income tax system is incredibly complex and constantly changing, which makes it very difficult to plan for the future. Individual income tax planning has historically been focused on deferring income and accelerating deductions. The theory behind this approach is to maximize the time value of money by paying as little tax now as possible, let your money grow over time, then pay taxes later. That approach has been changing in recent years, and as we have pointed out in past articles, sometimes it even makes sense to flip the script and accelerate income while deferring deductions. In order to understand why this makes sense, you have to understand the bracket structure of our tax system.