What Is The Alternative Minimum Tax?

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Trump reported $153 million in income that year, and paid a tax rate of around 25 percent.

"This new tax code eliminates the marriage penalty and the alternative minimum tax while providing the lowest tax rate since before World War II", Trump said in a 2016 campaign speech. Anyone who'll set up a company to collect just $65,000 in branding fees for vodka and energy drinks sold in Israel would take an extra $30 million on their tax bill quite personally.

A majority of his tax rate is attributed to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The AMT replaced its predecessor -the minimum tax - ten years after it was brought in 1969 by the congress. AMT was based on data, which suggested that 155 taxpayers making more than $200,000 per year paid no taxes after leveraging benefits and deductions, according to United States of America today. The vast majority of that total ($31.3 million) was compelled by the alternative minimum tax (AMT), a feature of the tax system created to ensure that the wealthiest taxpayers can not use deductions and tax credits to avoid all income taxes.

Barr presented Congress's Joint Economic Committee with a project years in the making: the first list ever compiled of all the tax code's loopholes and exemptions. Trump wants to abolish the AMT. The textbook from which I teach my "Introduction to Income Taxation" course does not mince words: "Everyone agrees it is a awful provision", it says.

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While the AMT has complicated taxes for a lot of middle-income taxpayers, too, it still keeps the super wealthy from nearly completely dodging their taxes, explains Johnston. The difference: In the AMT you lose the benefit of many tax preferences such as personal exemptions, and the deductions for state and local taxes and miscellaneous business expenses.

But while a third of this group paid extra thanks to the AMT, it added up to only $1 billion - or 2 percent - of the $50 billion total they paid in income taxes. It ensures that some people who write off large losses still contribute their share to the national treasury.

Were it not for the AMT, President Trump would have avoided all but a few million dollars of his 2005 tax bill.

While a number of Americans would enjoy lower tax rates under Trump's proposed plan, the removal of the AMT would leave a tax loophole large enough for millionaires and billionaires to drive a tank through.

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At the same time, FBI Director James Comey is testifying before Congress on Russian Federation and its ties to the 2016 election. The usually outspoken president also did not issue any tweets, his favored means of replying to unfavorable news.

In addition, Trump's plan eliminates the estate tax in a way that would be particularly beneficial to real estate moguls (the wealthy could transfer estates to their heirs during their lifetime rather than at their death), lowers the corporate tax rate to 15 percent and reduces other special business rates to 15 percent from being subject to the higher individual income tax schedule. The regular tax code allows taxpayers to recoup those costs artificially quickly. The AMT was implemented back in 1969 to place a cap on the amount of loopholes the extremely wealthy can use.

The upper middle class can survive the burdens of the AMT. For another thing, a household with income greater than $207,000 is now in the top 5 percent of earners.

Whatever the reason, the AMT effectively did its job. Trump himself knows better than anyone how grotesquely unjust our tax system is, since he's exploited it for his own gain for decades and then had the chutzpah to campaign on pledges to fix it. That's why repealing the AMT is so hard.

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