General Instructions

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Form 6251 and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to 
www.irs.gov/form6251.

What's New

Exemption amount.   The exemption amount on Form 6251, line 29, has increased to $51,900 ($80,800 if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er); $40,400 if married filing separately).

AMT tax brackets.   For 2013, the 26% tax rate applies to the first $179,500 ($89,750 if married filing separately) of taxable excess (the amount on line 30). This change is reflected in lines 31, 42, and 59.

Tax rate on net capital gain and qualified dividends.   The maximum tax rate of 15% on net capital gain and qualified dividends has increased to 20% for some taxpayers. Part III of Form 6251 reflects this new, higher rate.

Medical and dental expenses.   If you or your spouse was born before January 2, 1949, the amount of your medical and dental expenses you can deduct for the AMT may be less than for the regular tax. See line 2.

Limit on itemized deductions.   Beginning in 2013, you cannot deduct all of your itemized deductions for regular tax purposes if your adjusted gross income is more than:
  • $150,000 if married filing separately,

  • $250,000 if single,

  • $275,000 if head of household, or

  • $300,000 if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er).

This limit does not apply for the AMT. See the instructions for line 6.

Who Must File

Attach Form 6251 to your return if any of the following statements is true.

  1. Form 6251, line 31, is greater than line 34.

  2. You claim any general business credit, and either line 6 (in Part I) or line 25 of any Form 3800 is more than zero.

  3. You claim the qualified electric vehicle credit, the personal use part of the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit, or the credit for prior year minimum tax.

  4. The total of Form 6251, lines 8 through 27, is negative and line 31 would be greater than line 34 if you did not take into account lines 8 through 27.

Purpose of Form

Use Form 6251 to figure the amount, if any, of your alternative minimum tax (AMT). The AMT applies to taxpayers who have certain types of income that receive favorable treatment, or who qualify for certain deductions, under the tax law. These tax benefits can significantly reduce the regular tax of some taxpayers with higher economic incomes. The AMT sets a limit on the amount these benefits can be used to reduce total tax.

Also use Form 6251 to help you figure the tax liability limit on the credits listed under Who Must File.

Recordkeeping

For the AMT, certain items of income, deductions, etc., receive different tax treatment than for the regular tax. Therefore, you need to refigure items for the AMT that you figured for the regular tax. In some cases, you may wish to do this by completing the applicable tax form a second time. If you do complete another form, do not attach it to your tax return, but keep it for your records. However, you may have to attach an AMT Form 1116, Foreign Tax Credit, to your return; see the instructions for line 32.

For the regular tax, some deductions and credits may result in carrybacks or carryforwards to other tax years. Examples are investment interest expense, a net operating loss, a capital loss, a passive activity loss, and the foreign tax credit. Because you may have to refigure these items for the AMT, the carryback or carryforward amount may be different for the AMT than for the regular tax. Your at-risk limits and basis amounts also may differ for the AMT. Therefore, you must keep records of these different amounts.

Partners and Shareholders

If you are a partner in a partnership or a shareholder in an S corporation, see Schedule K-1 and its instructions to figure your adjustments or preferences from the partnership or S corporation to include on Form 6251.

Nonresident Aliens

If you are a nonresident alien and you disposed of U.S. real property interests at a gain, you must make a special computation. Fill in Form 6251 through line 30. If your net gain from the disposition of U.S. real property interests and the amount on line 28 are both greater than the tentative amount you figured for line 30, replace the amount on line 30 with the smaller of that net gain or the amount on line 28. Also, enter “RPI” on the dotted line next to line 30. Otherwise, do not change line 30.

Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax

See Form 8801, Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax—Individuals, Estates, and Trusts, if you paid AMT for 2012 or you had a minimum tax credit carryforward on your 2012 Form 8801. If you pay AMT for 2013, you may be able to take a credit on Form 8801 for 2014.

Optional Write-Off for Certain Expenditures

There is no AMT adjustment for the following items if you elect for the regular tax to deduct them ratably over the period of time shown.

  • Circulation expenditures—3 years (section 173).

  • Research and experimental expenditures—10 years (section 174(a)).

  • Mining exploration and development costs—10 years (sections 616(a) and 617(a)).

  • Intangible drilling costs—60 months (section 263(c)).

For information on making the election, see section 59(e) and Regulations section 1.59-1. Also see Pub. 535, Business Expenses.


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