Washington (March 12, 2004) -- The head of the Internal Revenue Service is reportedly among those taxpayers hit by the alternate minimum tax this year.

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson has filed his tax return and found that he'll have to pay the AMT for the first time, according to published reports. With a combination of two incomes -- Everson gets $144,600 as IRS commissioner, and his wife works at the White House Counsel's office -- two teenage children and high state and local taxes, he triggered the AMT, according to a report by Newsday.

Everson, who reportedly used a software program to prepare his tax returns, didn't disclose his assessment, but Newsday noted that the average AMT payment for those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000 was $2,800.

The widely reviled tax was originally aimed at keeping the wealthy from paying too little in taxes. However, the AMT now affects substantial numbers of middle-income taxpayers and, according to the IRS, absent a change of law, it will affect more than 30 million taxpayers by 2010. The AMT was cited as the top problem facing taxpayers this year by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson in her annual Report to Congress.

In her report, Olson noted that by 2007, nearly 95 percent of AMT revenues will be attributable to personal and dependent exemptions, the standard deduction, state and local taxes, and miscellaneous itemized deductions. She recommended that Congress repeal the AMT or make changes to lessen the impact on middle-income taxpayers.

"This is an issue we have to turn to," Everson told reporters at a breakfast this week sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

-- WebCPA staff

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