The IRS has an office within it that most people are completely unaware of – the national taxpayer advocate. What does the advocate due? The office helps you deal with the IRS when it gets to aggressive.
Each year, the taxpayer advocate kicks out a report on the overall tax situation. The report is designed to tell Congress what is causing you and the IRS problems. It can cover a wide variety of 20 issues, but there is usually one particular one the head of the department goes after. This year, it is the Alternative Minimum Tax or “AMT. "
The Alternative Minimum Tax is perhaps the single most hated tax of the last fifty years. It was originally designed to apply to the richest of the rich by eliminating certain deductions so they could not get out of paying their fair share. When I say richest of the rich, I mean the top one percent of earners. Congress being incompetent as usual, the tax was never adjusted for inflation and such. As the value of money and earnings grew over time, the AMT did not change. Slowly but surely, more and more people started getting caught by it. Now it applies to much of those categorized as upper middle class, and packs a vicious punch.
The National Taxpayer Advocate is currently Nina E. Olsen. She may soon become a hero to taxpayers everywhere. Why? She has an interesting solution to the Alternative Minimum Tax problem. Repeal it!
Now, why would Mrs. Olsen want to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, it is being applied to people it was never meant to cover and it is causing a massive burden. Second, it is a nightmare for the IRS to deal with because many people assume this “tax on the richest" doesn’t apply to them. Since they assume as much, they don’t even test their finances against it and thus never realize they are on the hook. When they file their “normal" taxes, the IRS has to kick them back and make them refile again. All and all, it is a waste of time and resources for everyone.
While Mrs. Olsen is advocating the repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax, it is unlikely it will go away. The government is currently running a large deficit, one that will continue to grow given the cost of the continuing hostilities in Iraq. Boy, that was a costly invasion.
Richard A. Chapo is with BusinessTaxRecovery.com - providing daily tax tips .