Hell hath no fury like a person who just found out the alternative minimum tax applies to them. The IRS has set up an online tool to figure out if you do.
Alternative Minimum Tax
The alternative minimum tax is a procedure that was set up to keep the richest of Americans from avoiding tax paying responsibilities. As is typical of the federal government, the failed to include any language adjusting for income growth and so on. As a result, the alternative minimum tax creams many taxpayers even though it was never intended to cover them.
So, why don't our beloved leaders just amend the relevant codes? Politicians giving up money they can spend on wars and favorite, but unnecessary, projects in their districts to keep voters happy? Surely, you aren't that naïve anymore. Oh, they will talk about repealing or modifying it, but it just never seems to happen. Hmmmm...
To determine if the alternative minimum tax applied to your situation, you have to take a very simple step. Fill out your taxes using both the regular 1040 forms and the alternative minimum tax forms. What a complete waste of time. Fortunately, the IRS seems to agree.
Much like those handy online mortgage calculators, the IRS has taken the alternative minimum tax into the digital world. It has created a new online tool where you can enter the relevant information and find out if you are subject to the alternative minimum tax. One simply goes to the IRS web site, does a search for "AMT Assistant" and starts entering information. The process takes between five and 10 minutes if you have your financial number handy. If you don't, add however much time it takes you to get your records together.
Now, you might be a little nervous about entering financial information on the IRS site. What if they are tracking you? Don't worry. It is anonymous. The information can't be tracked back to you unless the IRS wanted to hunt IP numbers through hosting companies and computer systems. Given it takes 30 minutes just to get an IRS representative on the phone, it is highly unlikely this will occur.
When you've got your courage up to full tilt, give it a try. Maybe, just maybe, you'll find you aren't subject to the alternative minimum tax.