Earned and unearned income on which current taxes must be paid. Tax avoidance is one of the goals of investment, and various tax-free or tax-deferred investments have been devised for this purpose. In the past, real estate and oil and gas limited partnerships have been a method of avoiding tax on current income, but changing tax legislation frequently alters the nature of taxable income and the taxes that must be paid on it. For example, the tax reform act of 1986 eliminated contributions to INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS as a deduction for many taxpayers. Insurance products have long enjoyed special tax benefits because of the belief in the importance of protecting one's family. For example, the interest buildup in annuities is allowed to accumulate, tax deferred. Taxes are paid on the earnings only when the money is withdrawn. Because the 1986 federal tax law eliminated so many other forms of tax shelters, insurance products became even more attractive for these properties.