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Alternative Minimum Tax

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NEWS
January 7, 2006
When Congress returns to work, among its priorities should be to deliver tax relief to millions of middle-class families who were caught by a "stealth" tax as of Jan. 1. It's called the "alternative minimum tax. " The AMT was created in 1969 to make sure that wealthy taxpayers paid their fair share and didn't abuse loopholes. But the original law made no allowance for inflation, and over the years more and more families with rising incomes have been snared by this tax. Taxpayers who fall unhappily into this category typically end up paying more in taxes.
NEWS
December 20, 2007 | Daily News Wire Services
Congress yesterday approved a plan that will spare millions of middle-class taxpayers from paying higher taxes in the coming months. The White House said President Bush would sign the bill. The tax reprieve postpones for one year only the alternative minimum tax, a parallel tax system enacted in 1969 to keep very wealthy investors from using deductions and tax shelters to avoid paying income tax altogether. The alternative tax has ensnared a growing number of middle-class Americans in recent years because the 1969 law was not indexed to inflation.
BUSINESS
December 8, 2005 | By Kevin G. Hall and James Kuhnhenn INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
The House of Representatives voted yesterday to delay a scheduled tax increase that would affect 19 million taxpayers next year and may still have an effect on 30 million Americans a year by 2010. House members voted, 414-4, to extend by one year the current income-exemption levels for the alternative minimum tax. The Senate already had approved the extension, though as part of a broader tax-cut package rather than as stand-alone legislation. If the House and Senate pass identical bills containing these terms, as is likely, President Bush is expected to sign it into law. The tax affects few families with incomes below $50,000, but increasing numbers at every income level above that, up to $1 million.
NEWS
April 15, 2003 | By David L. Keating
You know tax complexity is getting out of control now that the "short" form is double the length of the old "long" form used in 1945. And that the 85 pages of instructions for the short form now exceed the 84 pages needed to explain the long form used just seven years ago. If you think your taxes are confusing now, how would you feel about preparing two federal income tax returns instead of one to calculate your tax? There's an excellent chance you'll be doing that by the end of the decade.
BUSINESS
February 14, 1994 | By Julia C. Martinez, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Rare and valuable paintings, sculptures and other works of art were donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art last year, thanks perhaps to a change in the 1993 tax law affecting charitable contributions. In December alone, a painting by Ralph Earl entered the museum's collection, the first by the 18th-century American artist, along with an ornate, early-Victorian marble-top table and a rare 17th-century iron chest from India. The three works of art, all year-end gifts from individuals, collectively are valued at more than $100,000.
NEWS
February 20, 1987 | By Lucinda Fleeson, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nobody in the world of charitable giving knows precisely what the effects of new tax-reform laws will be for cultural institutions, universities and other nonprofit organizations. But a lot of people are worried. "Tax reform? You mean tax devastation," says Edward Able, executive director of the American Association of Museums. Since the Tax Reform Act of 1986 became law on Jan. 1, workshops, lectures and conferences have been scheduled by tax lawyers and fund-raising experts to decipher the meaning of the new laws and figure out whether tax reform translates into fewer dollars for nonprofit organizations.
NEWS
May 30, 2001
AT LEAST three areas of the Internal Revenue Service tax code are unfair: Taxing of up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits as ordinary income. We pay into Social Security, tax calculations never adjusted for inflation. This is one method of saving Social Security, because for every dollar paid out in benefits, the government may receive a portion back in income tax. Taxing of every dollar of unemployment compensation, which is only a small cushion when you're out of work and without company benefits.
NEWS
July 28, 1999 | By Robert A. Rankin, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
Fully 67 percent of the tax-break benefits the Senate will begin debating today would go to the richest 20 percent of American families, those making above $81,967 a year, according to the Treasury Department. The poorest 60 percent of U.S. families - those earning below $49,862 - would reap only 12 percent of the tax breaks, according to a Treasury analysis published yesterday. The richest 10 percent of U.S. families, those earning above $115,239, would collect 45 percent of the Senate bill's benefits.
BUSINESS
December 7, 2008 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The tax man comes around, even in the worst of economic times. So it's time to review year-end tax tips. We've got a rundown of IRS changes from last year, and friendly advice for avoiding audits. 2008 changes. Every year brings headaches in figuring out what rules have changed. This Kiplinger page notes a lot of them, and they could be good news: "For starters, tax brackets, personal exemptions and standard deductions have been adjusted for inflation. " Also, "First-time home buyers get extra help from Uncle Sam. " Avoid audits.
NEWS
April 29, 2011
WHEN Dr. Frankenstein orders his servant to bring him a human brain, Igor drops the "normal" brain and brings a "criminal" brain to be reawakened in the surgically reconstructed monster. Christine Flowers in her April 22 op-ed on the "ban the box" legislation is probably right that there are professions that need to be protected from felony criminals. (We need not transplant more "criminal brains" into the banking industry than have naturally accumulated there.) But we shouldn't equate the excesses of the teenage brain with those of the hardened criminal - something that "10 to 20 with time off for good behavior" tends to blur by the time a capricious teenage foolishness plays itself out. I'm not sure that I agree either with Council or Flowers.
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BUSINESS
March 13, 2014 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
Since tax season is upon us, we highlight some free tax-filing resources, in particular Free File, the IRS's online tax-preparation and e-filing program, available at the website IRS.gov/freefile. The free forms - made possible by the Free File Alliance, a coalition of industry tax companies - offer step-by-step preparation and e-filing of federal tax returns for all Americans with a 2013 annual gross income of $58,000 or less. There are also other free online tax forms with no income restrictions.
NEWS
January 18, 2013
IT'S NOT NICE to tell people, "I told you so. " But if anybody has the right to say that, it's Nina E. Olson, the national taxpayer advocate. Olson recently submitted her annual report to Congress, and tops on her list of things to be fixed is the complexity of the tax code, which she calls the most serious problem facing taxpayers. Let's look at the most recent evidence of complexity run amok. The IRS had to delay the tax-filing season so that it could update forms and its programming to accommodate recent changes made under the American Taxpayer Relief Act. The IRS won't start processing individual income-tax returns until Jan. 30. Yet one thing remains unchanged - the April 15 tax deadline.
NEWS
January 3, 2013 | By Jan C. Ting
No one should be applauding Congress' bipartisan deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. True, it does fix a few problems that Congress itself created, including a scheduled unemployment-insurance cutoff, a reduction of Medicare payments to doctors, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and a threatened increase in milk prices. But it's mostly bad news for Americans. Congress did not deal with the approaching debt ceiling or automatic spending cuts, ensuring further standoffs within a few months.
BUSINESS
December 18, 2012 | By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax increases scheduled to take effect next year, big tax hikes have already gone into effect for millions of families and businesses this year. More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses expired at the end of 2011. If Congress doesn't extend them retroactively back to the beginning of this year, a typical middle-class family could face a $4,000 tax increase when it files its 2012 return in the spring, according to an analysis by H&R Block, the tax-preparing giant.
NEWS
December 18, 2012
By Scott Blackburn Imagine if Congress and the White House had done their job for the last two years - if, instead of diligently avoiding every major policy decision, they had already carved out a deal to avoid massive tax hikes and spending cuts to prevent us from tumbling off the "fiscal cliff. " Economic disaster would be averted, and Congress could fly home early for a well-deserved Christmas break. Right? Probably not. While the impending income-tax increases and, to a lesser extent, spending cuts get most of the coverage, House Republicans and Obama have to agree on a slew of other legislative fixes and extensions to maintain a functioning government.
BUSINESS
December 2, 2012 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
President Obama , at the K'Nex toy factory in Hatfield, and House Republican leader John Boehner , in Washington, said Friday they were far from agreeing how to boost taxes, cut spending, or prevent more extreme fiscal cliff government cuts and tax hikes. Less spending? More taxes? Those will slow the U.S. economy, not speed it up. Is this all we have to hope for from Washington next year? "Victory for the middle class is more jobs and higher wages," writes veteran stock-watcher James M. Meyer , of $1 billion-asset Tower Bridge Advisors , West Conshohocken, in a report for clients of Boenning & Scattergood . Too bad, he writes of the fiscal cliff debate, that "there is absolutely nothing that will come out of this" to help the middle class.
NEWS
November 28, 2012 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - In case anyone missed it, President Obama and his allies had a reminder for lawmakers returning to work Monday: the fiscal cliff is coming, and it will take a massive bite out of the middle class unless a deal is reached by Dec. 31. The message was delivered anew by a White House report showing that looming tax hikes could cost middle-income families $2,200 and take a $200 billion chunk out of consumer spending, slowing economic growth....
NEWS
November 26, 2012 | Mark Zandi, For the Inquirer
President Obama's reelection started the countdown for lawmakers to address the fiscal cliff and the statutory debt limit. Unless the president and House Republicans can agree on changes to current law, the U.S. economy will be in recession by spring. Concern about Washington's ability to manage the crisis already appears to be taking a toll. Nervous businesses have pulled back on investment and advertising in recent months. Firms' staffing decisions haven't been affected, but this may not last if uncertainty continues to mount.
BUSINESS
November 12, 2012
Now that the election is over, it is time to get back to reality. Unfortunately, that means Congress and President Obama need to address the biggest threat to growth, the "fiscal cliff. " This is a loaded pistol pointed at the head of the economy, and if it goes off, we could be facing another recession. So, what is the fiscal cliff? In order to get Congress to agree to a simple increase in the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011, a bill was passed that mandated the formation of a congressional "super committee" to come up with a proposal to cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
BUSINESS
October 8, 2012 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
Nothing in the world is certain except death and taxes, Benjamin Franklin suggested more than 220 years ago. What Franklin didn't say, but probably knew, is that political dogfights over taxes are almost as predictable, a point illustrated yet again at last week's presidential debate. President Obama repeatedly said GOP nominee Mitt Romney has proposed $5 trillion in tax cuts "skewed toward the wealthy" on top of extending the Bush-era tax cuts, which the president wants to end for upper-income families.
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