Might want to rethink early filing

A 1040 tax form


Scott Jagow: For some people, filing taxes early might not do much good next year. I'm referring to people who fall under the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT. The AMT was created in 1969, and was aimed at very wealthy families. But it wasn't adjusted for inflation, so over the years, it has gobbled up more taxpayers with upper-middle incomes.

In the past, Congress has approved one-year fixes, but it hasn't done so this year. John Dimsdale explains what's going on.

John Dimsdale: Lawmakers acknowledge the AMT is out of control. But there's little agreement on how to afford a $50 billion loss of AMT revenue.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley doesn't see the need to replace the money at all:

Sen. Charles Grassley: These 19 million people that are going to get hit if we don't do something, they weren't supposed to be paying this tax anyway. So if they weren't supposed to be paying this tax anyway, how come it's a hole in our budget?

The IRS warns the congressional hold-up will delay tax refunds next year.

Deputy IRS Commissioner Richard Spires says it'll take seven weeks to adopt any AMT changes.

Richard Spires: If Congress were to act on the last day that they plan on being in session, which is December 21, we do have an early peak of filers in early February. So we're talking about delaying millions of taxpayers' refunds.

Spires warns processing delays will be especially acute for paper returns. He recommends filing electronically.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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