A: Perhaps the change that most closely aligns itself with the AMT is the Pease Limitation on itemized deductions for higher-income taxpayers. For married couples with $300,000 or more of adjusted gross income (AGI), they will see their itemized deductions reduced by 3 percent of the amount their AGI exceeds $300,000. However, the amount of itemized deductions cannot be reduced by more than 80 percent as a result of this rule. Similar rules also will limit the benefit of the personal exemption beginning in 2013.
Q: Were business provisions excluded from this tax legislation?
A: No, businesses actually came out the winner as their tax rates were kept intact and their ability to expense additions to equipment and other fixed assets were increased for 2012 and 2013. The legislation increased the Section 179 expense limitation from $139,000 to $500,000 for 2012 and 2013. In addition, 50 percent bonus depreciation for new depreciable assets with recovery periods of 20 years or less was extended through 2013. These types of accelerated depreciation methods are not considered preference items for purposes of AMT calculation for businesses.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER