News 12 at 6 o'clock, Friday, November 19, 2010
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- 25 million people must get ready to pay says tax expert Stephen Harvey. Single taxpayers who make $33,750 or more and married couples filing a joint return who make $45,000 or more may be writing a bigger check to the IRS.
"Where people normally would have gotten a 3-4-500 dollar refund, this year they're gonna owe the government 2500 bucks without Congress doing something," said Stephen Harvey with H&R Block.
That something is what's called a patch of the Alternative Minimum Tax. The AMT was passed in 1969 for wealthier people who weren't paying taxes by taking away a number of tax breaks. The AMT, however, wasn't adjusted for inflation, and Congress usually issues a patch every year. But not yet this year.
"If they do nothing, some people are going to be shocked," said Harvey. "They're going to owe 2,500 dollars."
Mike Gibson, the gatekeeper of North Augusta's Living History Park is also waiting.
"I think you prepare for the worst, being Congress is what they are," he said. "You got the holidays coming up and that's more money out of the pocket. It's hard to put the money back."
The average taxpayer making more than those income levels will pay $800 more next year if the AMT isn't patched, according to tax experts.
"That's a lot of money," adds Gibson. "And not being employed has an impact on dollars coming in ... Congress needs to get off the stick and get it taken care of."
Last year, Congress passed the patch in December. Harvey expects it will happen again.
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