From the Silk Purse Department: the "AMT Assistant"

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It's now January 2006-- which means that temporary Alternative Minimum Tax relief enacted for tax years 2004 and 2005 has expired. Unless Congress acts to extend the temporary increases in the AMT exemptions, millions of more Americans will be drawn into the AMT.

As we've argued before, there is an obvious solution to this problem: increase the exemptions permanently. One would think that Congress might seize on this one pretty easily, not least because the clock is ticking. But the folks at the IRS don't seem to have much faith that Congress will get its act together, judging from the January 4 debut of the "AMT Assistant" on the IRS website. It's a clever, mostly simple interactive tool that you can use to determine whether you'll need to worry about the AMT next year. And hurrah for the IRS for coming up with this.

But it's a helluva poor substitute for a Congressional agreement to preserve the AMT.

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