The Alternative Minimum Tax: Coming to a Tax Return Near You

    by Mark H. Gaudet

    Thirty-five years have passed since the introduction of a minimum tax system in the United States. Yet it has never hit as many taxpayers as it does today.

    According to a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) is expected to affect about 20% of all taxpayers by the year 2010. In contrast, the study found that less than 1% of all taxpayers were subject to AMT in any year prior to 2000.

    The current individual income tax system in the United States consists of two parallel tax systems: the regular tax, and the AMT. The primary purpose of the AMT system is to keep taxpayers with high incomes from paying little or no income tax by taking advantage of various deductions, exclusions and credits to the regular tax found in the Internal Revenue Code.

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