Implemented in 1969 to make sure upper-income Americans pay their share of taxes, the AMT has increasingly snared more middle-income Americans over the years because it was never indexed for inflation.
During the 2011 tax year for example, the higher tax hit single taxpayers with incomes as low as $48,450 and joint filers making only $74,450.
But millions more Americans could be subject to the AMT in their 2012 returns if Congress fails to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff before year-end. That’s because the AMT is currently scheduled to hit individuals making as little as $33,750 a year and joint filers making $45,000.
Being married and making over $45,000 a year is the “new rich.”