Alternative Minimum Tax Debate and Poll
Should we do away with the Alternative Minimum Tax?


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Should we do away with the Alternative Minimum Tax?


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Fact 1

The official summary of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 states:

"Congress concluded that the minimum tax should serve one overriding objective: to ensure that no taxpayer with substantial economic income can avoid significant tax liability by using exclusions, deductions, and credits. . . . It is inherently unfair for high-income taxpayers to pay little or no tax due to their ability to utilize tax preferences."


The minimum tax acts as a back-up to the regular corporate income tax, and is designed to assure that profitable corporations pay at least some income tax even if they can otherwise take advantage of a plethora of loopholes. According to an analysis by CTJ, many of the corporations that have been pushing Congress to gut the minimum tax, such as Texaco, Dow Chemical and Union Camp, are once-and-perhaps-future "corporate freeloaders," i.e., profitable companies that pay no income tax. The Treasury Department estimated in 1995 that AMT changes such as those envisioned in the current House tax plan would take 76,000 profitable corporations completely off the tax rolls.



Republicans are for eliminating the alternative minimum tax, because it adds complexity to the tax code and affects many of the middle class.


CON 3.1

The republicans are just working for the corporations, its just as easy to adjust the law as it is to do away with it.



Ever since the minimum tax was passed, big corporations, including oil, steel and chemical manufacturers, have been pushing hard to eliminate or at least weaken it. Those companies which joined together in a powerful coalition gave more than $22.1 million in soft money donations to the political parties from 1991 to June, 1997. The result: Congress voted in the 1997 budget and tax deal to severely weaken the minimum tax requirement, an action that will save affected companies - and cost American taxpayers -- about $18 billion in federal tax revenues over ten years.




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