May 25, 2005

CRAPO WANTS ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX ENDED NOW

Idahoans rank 28th highest in U.S. in percentage of tax returns affected by AMT

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will co-sponsor legislation offered by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to abolish the individual Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM) this year. The tax was started as a way to catch upper-income Americans who paid zero in taxes, but unintended consequences and inflation have slipped consequences of the tax into middle-class taxpayers.â??If we donâ??t take action now to repeal the tax, it will affect more and more middle-class taxpayers, and the longer we wait, the larger the effect will be on the federal budget will be,â?? Crapo said. â??This is a stealth tax that affects at least 6,000 Idahoans, like farmers, landowners, and others. By next year it may affect more than 25 million Americans, and if left untouched, it could radically affect twice that many by 2015.â??Congress implemented the Alternative Minimum Tax in 1969 after finding many cases where wealthy individuals paid nothing in taxes. Implementing ways to counter the situation through closing tax loopholes resulted in unintended consequences for middle-income taxpayers, Crapo said. As examples, some families with several children or those who reside in states with higher property taxes or incomes were adversely affected by the AMT structure.â??The best solution is to simply repeal the tax in its entirety and deal with the consequences on the federal budget.â?? Crapo said. He ruled out any effort to amend popular tax deductions, such as mortgage interest or health care payments, suggesting instead that slight, overall tax code modifications and budget belt-tightening could alleviate any budget shortfall. â??What will be worse is if Congress does nothing and allows this unfair tax issue to affect more and more Americans,â?? he concluded.