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What You Should Know about the AMT

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IRS Tax Tip 2015-19, February 13, 2015

Even if you’ve never paid the Alternative Minimum Tax, before, you should not ignore this tax. Your taxes may have changed so that this may be the year that you need to pay AMT. You may have to pay this tax if your income is above a certain amount. AMT attempts to ensure that taxpayers who claim certain tax benefits pay a minimum amount of tax.

Here are some things that you should know about the AMT:

  1. When AMT applies.  You may have to pay the AMT if your taxable income, plus certain adjustments, is more than your exemption amount. Your filing status and income determine the amount of your exemption. In most cases, if your income is below this amount, you will not owe AMT.

  2. Exemption amounts.  The 2014 AMT exemption amounts are:
    • $52,800 if you are Single or Head of Household.
    • $82,100 if you are Married Filing Joint or Qualifying Widow(er).
    • $41,050 if you are Married Filing Separate.

You will reduce your AMT exemption if your income is more than certain limits.

  1. Use IRS e-file.  Keep in mind that AMT rules are complex. The easiest way to prepare and file your tax return is to use IRS e-file. The tax software you use to e-file will figure AMT for you if you owe the tax.

  2. Try the tool.  Use the AMT Assistant tool on IRS.gov to find out if you need to pay the tax.

  3. Use the right forms.  If you owe AMT, you usually must file Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax – Individuals. Some taxpayers who owe AMT can file Form 1040A and use the AMT Worksheet in the instructions.

Learn more about the AMT on IRS.gov. Also, see the Form 6251 instructions. If you e-file your tax return you don't need any paper forms to mail to the IRS. If you do need a paper form, you can visit IRS.gov/forms to view, download and print what you need right away.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 15-Oct-2015