Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

AMT holdup could stop half of U.S. taxpayers from filing taxes, getting refunds

Dana Pinero of New York waits to mail tax returns on April 15, 2008. Tax filing and refunds could be delayed in 2013 if Congress doesn’t act to restrain the alternative minimum tax.

Associated Press (2008)

Dana Pinero of New York waits to mail tax returns on April 15, 2008. Tax filing and refunds could be delayed in 2013 if Congress doesn’t act to restrain the alternative minimum tax.

Nearly half of U.S. taxpayers would be unable to file their 2012 taxes — or receive their refunds — until at least late March if Congress fails to enact legislation by the end of this year to restrain the alternative minimum tax, the head of the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

In a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller said the agency made "a risk-based decision" not to reprogram its computer systems to account for the expiration of legislation that limits the reach of the AMT to about 4 million households each year.

Since that legislation expired in December, the AMT is in line to hit about 33 million people in the 2012 tax year, the letter said — hitting about 28 million of those families with an unexpectedly large tax bill.

If Congress passes new legislation before the end of the year, Miller wrote, everything would be fine: "The IRS would likely be able to open the 2013 tax filing season with minimal delays for most taxpayers."

"However, if there is no AMT patch enacted by the end of the year," Miller wrote, "there would be serious repercussions for taxpayers."

"Without an AMT patch, about 28 million taxpayers would be faced with a very large, unexpected tax liability for the current tax year (2012). In addition, in order to allow time for the IRS to make the programming changes necessary to conform our processing systems to reflect expiration of the AMT patch and the credit ordering rules, the IRS would, at minimum, need to instruct more than 60 million taxpayers that they may not file their tax returns or receive a refund until the IRS completes the necessary systems changes," Miller wrote.

"Because of the magnitude and complexity of the changes, it is entirely possible that these taxpayers would not be able to file until late March 2013, if not even later. Tens of millions of these taxpayers would unexpectedly have to pay additional income tax for 2012, leaving them with a balance due return or a much smaller refund than expected."

Hatch is the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Miller wrote the letter in response to requests from Congress about the impact on the agency of the year-end fiscal cliff, which threatens to dramatically change existing tax policy on several fronts, including the AMT.

In the past, Congress has repeatedly provided the agency with "bipartisan, bicameral assurances that Congress was working expeditiously to enact a patch." This year, however, political wrangling over taxes, primarily the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, has prevented negotiations over legislation to limit the AMT.

If the AMT is not patched, those hit with the tax could see an average increase of $3,700 in their 2012 tax bills, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

AMT holdup could stop half of U.S. taxpayers from filing taxes, getting refunds 11/13/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Zimbabwe's incoming leader returns home to cheers

    World

    Associated Press

    HARARE, Zimbabwe — Poised to become Zimbabwe's next president, a former confidant of ousted leader Robert Mugabe on Wednesday promised "a new, unfolding democracy" and reached out to the world, saying international help is needed to rebuild the shattered economy.

    Supporters of Zimbabwe’s president in waiting, Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile,” raise a stuffed reptile  in the air Wednesday as they await Mnangagwa’s arrival at the ZANU-PF party headquarters in Harare. He will be sworn in on Friday.
  2. Hernando deputies make arrest after finding body of dead woman Wednesday

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County sheriff's deputies arrested a 32-year-old man Wednesday who they say killed a woman.

  3. Mother and two children hit by car in Tampa

    News

    TAMPA — A mother of two was in critical condition Wednesday night after a car struck her and her two children as they attempted to cross S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa police said.

  4. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it's too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy pressures Dolphins QB Matt Moore (8) during Sunday’s game.
  5. Man charged with homicide a year after head-on crash

    News

    TAMPA — Esther Jean, 31, died in a head-on crash nine days before her 32nd birthday. More than a year later, the man who survived has been charged with vehicular homicide.

    Jacob Robin Albarracin is charged with vehicular homicide.