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While it may be too late for most people to lower their 2005 income tax burden, consider it a clean slate for 2006. The beginning of the year is an excellent time for tax planning. There are many steps you can take now to avoid sticker shock during next year's income tax filing season. For example, you can increase your retirement account contributions. You can donate goods or cash to one or more charities. If you aren't already participating in an employer-sponsored dependent care or medical flexible spending account, get some tax advice and planning help from your human resources department or a tax planning professional to determine if they are right for your circumstances. Feeling really bold? Explore the impact enrolling in a high deductible health plan and complimentary health savings account (HSA) could have on your income tax bracket. Before you do any of these things, it's probably best to seek the guidance of an estate tax planning professional to get the most from any measures you do take.