As most Atlanta residents begin to organize and brace themselves for this spring’s tax season, it can be hard to think ahead to when we must deal with taxes for the 2014 financial year. However, now is a perfect time to get ahead and do tax planning to help structure your year’s spending and earnings in a way that minimizes unnecessary tax liability.

For example, a new net investment income tax rate applies to annuity incomes, royalties, dividends, and other sources of investment income. Experts say that this is a good time to look at one’s investment portfolio and examine it in terms of the new tax rates and determine if there are other types of holdings or others way of structuring the portfolio that might be more advantageous in the long run.

By the same token, now is a good time to consider whether this is the year to make sizeable charitable donations. In addition to benefitting the community and important organizations, charitable donations can be deployed to offset a tax burden at times when various factors combine to yield a high tax rate.

The crucial thing to remember with tax planning is that while it can be tempting to push the limits on deductions and income structuring, all of this must be done well within the bounds of the law. Violating tax law can lead to some serious issues, including tax evasion charges in severe cases. Keeping in touch with a tax law expert as a part of the tax planning process can help avoid these pitfalls.

Source: Crain’s Wealth, “How to get a jumpstart on 2014 tax planning,” Darla Mercado, Dec. 31, 2013.