Cautioning that no one is quite certain about the long-term implications of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, columnist/consultant Strassels offers a confident interim briefing designed mainly to get upscale individuals safely through the three-year transition period. For openers, the author provides a briefing on the law's major provisions as they affect wage-earning heads of household, investors, prospective retirees, proprietors of small businesses, and a host of others. He then retraces his steps, assessing specific changes in greater detail. Covered at some length, for example, are the reduced tax rates on personal income, IRAs' loss of mass appeal, the declining allure of itemized deductions, revocation of the special treatment accorded long-term capital gains, the colder climate for tax shelters, the diminishing benefits of real-estate ownership, ceilings on pension payouts, stricter monitoring of children's earnings, and tougher compliance rules. Strassels, a former IRS agent, gets around to redeeming the subtitle's promise in his final section. He starts with common-sense recommendations on how individual filers might pack their 1986 returns with last-minute deductions and defer collecting as much income as possible until 1987 or beyond when tax rates are scheduled to fall. The author also supplies smart-money tips on refinancing mortgages, rethinking retirement programs, reappraising investment opportunities, and even planning divorce settlements to best advantage. In brief, then, an expedient guide to the latest overhaul of the Tax Code.