December 7, 2005

U.S. House backs alternative minimum tax patch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on
Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to ensure that as
many as 19 million taxpayers will not be forced to pay the
alternative minimum tax next year.

The House voted 414-4 to extend for one year a temporary
patch that will keep the number of taxpayers paying the AMT,
about 3 million this year, from exploding next year. The tax
was originally supposed to apply only to the very rich but now
affects many more middle class households.

The AMT, called the "stealth tax" because many taxpayers
are unaware it, was enacted in 1969 so that a few hundred of
the wealthiest Americans did not take advantage of so many tax
breaks that they ended up not paying any income tax at all.

"We need to extend AMT relief for this coming year to
ensure the middle class is not facing a tax increase," said
Rep. Philip English, a Pennsylvania Republican.