How do you know if you must pay the alternative minimum tax to the IRS?


Quick Answer

U.S. taxpayers can determine whether or not they are subject to the alternative minimum tax by filling out Form 6251, according to the IRS. Tax software also automatically calculates this alternative tax and notifies users if they are required to pay it.

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Full Answer

Certain high income-earning individuals may be subject to the alternative minimum tax if they claim tax benefits from designated categories, states the IRS. If the amount of benefits claimed in these categories causes taxable income to fall below the AMT limit, the taxpayer then has to pay the alternative tax. Any taxpayers who claim benefits from these categories or has taxable income relative to gross income below a certain threshold must file Form 6251, regardless of whether they are subject to the tax.

All taxpayers who claim accelerated depreciation expenses, amortization expenses for pollution-control or a net operating loss deduction are required to file Form 6251, according to the IRS. In addition, taxpayers claiming credits for renewal community employment, qualified electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles must file this form. A full list of qualifying categories is available at the official IRS website. The website also provides an online tool for determining if the taxpayer meets the criteria for filing Form 6251.

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