Even though President Obama indicated only last Friday that the fiscal cliff deal likely to be produced by the January 1 deadline would be a basic package, lawmakers managed to come out with a surprisingly comprehensive set of tax provisions, some with long-lasting effects.
Perhaps the most far-reaching is the permanent patch for the alternative minimum tax, which applies retroactively for 2012 and indexes the AMT for inflation to keep it from spreading to 30 million more middle-class taxpayers. That will make life easier for accountants and tax planners, not to mention lawmakers in Congress, who need to contend with patching the AMT year after excruciating year. The IRS too will be relieved, as it recently warned that unless the AMT is patched soon, tax season could be delayed until late March or beyond (see IRS Warns Congress Tax Season Might Be Delayed until March or Later without AMT Patch).
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