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 Home > News & Policies > November 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 8, 2007

Fact Sheet: In Case Congress Doesn't Quickly Pass An AMT Patch: Failure to Act Could Result in $75 Billion of Delayed Refunds
Congress' Delay In Sending Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Patch To The President Could Mean As Many As 50 Million American Taxpayers Face Delayed Tax Return Processing

"The President called for a one-year AMT patch in February, but instead of acting promptly to send the President a bill he can sign, the House is just now considering a bill that would raise taxes on individuals and businesses by nearly $80 billion.  If Congress continues in its failure to send the President an AMT patch he can sign into law, as many as 50 million taxpayers could face delays in the processing of their returns and $75 billion in refund checks could be delayed – essentially forcing American taxpayers to extend a $75 billion no-interest loan to the IRS.  Congress should not be playing politics with money American families are counting on to pay off credit card debt or get current on their mortgage."

– White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto, 11/8/07

Congress' Inaction On AMT Patch Could Delay The Distribution Of $75 Billion In Refund Checks

If a patch does not reach the President's desk until after Thanksgiving, as many as 50 million taxpayers could face delays in the processing of their returns, and $75 billion in refund checks could be delayed.  This would amount to forcing American taxpayers to extend a $75 billion no-interest loan to the IRS.

  • These delays will only worsen if Congress continues to hold back passage of an AMT patch the President can sign into law.  From the date an AMT patch is enacted, the IRS estimates it will take 12-13 weeks to reprogram, test, and integrate the changes into the complex computer programs and systems that process tax returns.  The tax filing season begins January 14, 2008 – fewer than 10 weeks from today.
  • In addition to delaying refund checks, Congress' failure to act could cost American taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The IRS has already released forms 1040 and 1040A to the printing vendors, and all additional forms must be finalized by November 16.  If Congress enacts AMT relief legislation after forms have been printed, the IRS will have to revise and reissue 12 tax forms and instructions, along with tax publications that refer to the AMT.

Congress Should Not Play Politics With Billions Of Dollars American Taxpayers Are Depending On

The longest previous Congresses have gone without patching the AMT for the current tax year is May 11th.  Since 2001, Congress has periodically "patched" exemption levels and credit rules to keep the number of AMT taxpayers roughly constant at about 4 million.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already ruled out the possibility of sending an AMT patch to the President by Thanksgiving.  Q: "Will you have an AMT patch to the White House before Thanksgiving?"  SEN. REID: "No."  (Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Media Availability Following Senate Policy Luncheons, Washington, DC, 11/6/07)

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) is using the impending spike in the number of AMT taxpayers as an excuse to raise taxes by nearly $80 billion.  Congress has had months to pass this legislation.  Instead of spending time debating tax increases at this late date, they should quickly pass a patch that does not raise other taxes so the President can sign it into law.

A One-Year AMT Patch Should Not Be Offset With Tax Increases

If Congress does not get an AMT patch to the President's desk in the next few weeks, 25 million taxpayers will face an unexpected tax increase averaging $2,000 when they file taxes next year.

The Administration does not believe the appropriate way to protect these taxpayers from 2007 AMT liability is to impose a tax increase on other taxpayers.

Federal tax receipts for the most recent fiscal year were $2.57 trillion – an all-time record.   Tax receipts as a percentage of the economy are 18.8 percent – higher than all but six of the past 25 years and above the average of the past 40 years.

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