The tax laws give preferential treatment to certain kinds of income and allow special
deductions and credits for certain kinds of expenses. The alternative minimum tax attempts
to ensure that all individuals who benefit from these tax advantages will pay at least a
minimum amount of tax.
The alternative minimum tax is a separate tax computation that, in effect, eliminates
many deductions and credits, thus creating a tax liability for an individual who would
otherwise pay little or no tax. The tentative minimum tax rates are 26% and 28%.
You may have to pay the alternative minimum tax if your taxable income for regular tax
purposes, plus any of the adjustments and preference items that apply to you, is more than
an exemption amount. The exemption amounts are:
- $45,000 if you are married filing jointly or are a qualifying widow or widower,
- $33,750 if you are single or head of household; or
- $22,500 if you are married filing separately, or an estate or trust.
To determine if you may be subject to the alternative minimum tax, see the 1997 Form 1040 instructions for Line 48.
If you are liable for alternative minimum tax, you should complete Form 6251 Alternative Minimum Tax -
Individuals. If you paid alternative minimum tax last year, you may be eligible to
take a special credit against your regular tax. If eligible for 1997, you should report
this credit on Line 44 of Form 1040 and check Box C. Also, use Form 8801, Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax
- Individuals and Fiduciaries.
To order these Forms and instructions, call 1-800-829-3676.
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