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Fixing the AMT: A Plea to Congress

December 13, 2007 · 0 comments

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Dear Congress,

The year ends on December 31. It’s now about halfway through December. The IRS (and consequently, the taxpayers) would be really happy if you reached some kind of resolution on the AMT by the end of the year. It makes printing the forms a little easier when you actually know the rules – that’s kind of hard when you haven’t decided on any.

I realize that I’m not a political genius but I have a suggestion for moving this along: why not have a bill that focuses on AMT? You know, with no Iraq spending, extra taxes or immigration measures rolled up in it? There need not even be a permanent fix – you’re pretty good at those temporary fixes anyhow. We just need something by the end of the year. And by the end of the year, I’m not including the two weeks of vacation that you’ll tack on. So, maybe this week?

I’m not even suggesting a three to five year fix. I’m okay with a patch. It can be our little tax Nicoderm.

I know it’s not going to be easy for you. As a middle child, I realize that nobody ever wants to give in during a fight. You want to win. The Republicans want to be right. The Democrats want to be right. The Senate wants to be heroes. The House wants to be heroes. This is the thing: nobody really cares. Just like nobody ever really cared who won any of a number of leg wrestling matches between my brothers in the living room.

We don’t need a “winner” – but your fight sure is creating a lot of losers, meaning taxpayers. So far, you’re threatening us with delayed filings and refunds. What’s that about?

So, I think all most of us taxpayers want for Christmas is an end to the bickering. Remember, Santa’s watching.

Taxgirl

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jim Newhard, CPA December 13, 2007 at 6:50 am

Despite yesterday’s Taxgirl blog, there doesn’t to be anything that’s “too political” in D.C. – it, the AMT, is the poster child for complication, frustration, indiscriminant penalization, and a disregard for the best interest of Americans.

First, the list of “preferences” (adjustments and add-backs that restate regular taxable income into AMT taxable income) keeps growing to the point where it is increasing difficult to quantify the effects without detailed and accurate tax numbers (difficult to plan). Second, it hits many unsuspecting folks – particularly if they live in a high tax city and, even worse, a high tax locality (Philly, NY, Boston, LA, etc.) — they are penalized for federal tax purposes because they are hit with high state & local tax.

The kicker is that it is projected that the IRS will not be able to begin receiving and processing tax returns before February 23, 2008 (at earliest), and by that time last year, over 50 million returns were filed. This delay is costing taxpayers big time — truly the Grinchiest of politics!

2 Robert D Flach December 13, 2007 at 11:00 am

Kelly–

You were too polite in addressing the arseholes in DC. They need a good chastisement for their irresponsibility and laziness!

TWTP

3 Miranda December 13, 2007 at 12:48 pm

As someone who has the taxes filed by Feb. 1, I am annoyed at what will doubtless by more bungling from Congress.

4 Mike Sylvester, CPA December 13, 2007 at 5:54 pm

My wife and I operate a public accounting firm in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Before becoming a CPA I spent almost 20 years in nuclear power plants, steel mills, and manufacturing plants as a maintenance person or as a manager.

I saw some strange regulations and rules in the nuclear power industry; however, the US tax code can beat them all.

The AMT is a complete disaster and we should vote against just about every politician in the next election regardless of political party.

Mike Sylvester, CPA

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