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October 11, 2007

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Of course tax credits are the most valuable of all! Deductions taken directly off your tax bill are worth 3x above the line deductions. Also, at what point does the AMT wipe all this out all of your above the line deductions?

Yah, when do we have to start worrying about AMT? $110k? $120k?

It really depends on your deductions. Even someone with lower income can get hit with AMT if they are deducting a disproportionate amount on Schedule A. The biggest one I see is someone that has a spike in income (capital gains, etc) that leads to a big state income tax bill one year so they pay it in the following year when their income goes back down, so their state income taxes are out of whack with the current earnings.

Kevin - So if your wife and you basically earn 110k from your jobs and maybe up to only 5k in interest on CD's/savings/etc. is there a decent chance you won't get hit with AMT?

With that being said, what salary is safe to say you won't get hit with AMT if you don't have large capital gains to worry about?

We make 175K joint and have what I would consider fairly vanilla deductions (2 kids, medium-sized mortgage). So far, we have not been hit by AMT, but I freak out about it every April...

beastlike - i just used capital gains as an example. AMT is caused by many things, but the most common items are extremely high deductions for state income taxes, mortgage interest, medical or miscellaneous deductions.

You should be OK with that level of income assuming your itemized deductions aren't ridiculously high. Your tax preparer should be able to give you an idea of how close you are. The form really isn't hard to fill out if they are using tax software, since everything that goes over to it is usually input somewhere already. At my firm, we always print out the AMT form to make sure there are no surprises.

There are also other kinds of gifts you can make to reduce taxes for long- term estate planning. First, you can give up to 12,000 per donor per recipient to family members and others each year without triggering gift taxes. You can also give to your children’ s or grandchildren’ s education through 529 savings plans. You can gift 12,000 a year to a 529 plan tax- free— or better yet, take advantage of a law that allows you to give a single contribution, covering five years, to a 529 plan. That means you can...

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