The process of calculating the parallel tax computation, and the rules for what things can and cannot be deducted from income for AMT purposes, were both left unchanged. Thus, mortgage interest can be deducted, while state and local taxes can't. Charitable contributions are OK, but exemptions for dependent children are eliminated.
The upshot is that if you've been hit by the AMT in the recent past, there's a good chance you could be this year, too.
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"The legislation didn't change the group of people likely to be subject to the AMT," said Mel Schwarz, a partner in the Washington National Tax Office of Grant Thornton. "It preserved the status quo."
That status quo continues to be the object of intense criticism.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent office within the Internal Revenue Service, has been calling for the repeal of the AMT since 2002, arguing it "hits the wrong taxpayers," "penalizes families" and "treats seemingly similar deductions differently." The repeal of the AMT topped the TAS's list of five recommendations to Congress in its recently filed 2013 annual report.