Each mid-April, you can almost hear the collective nationwide cursing and sputtering as millions of U.S. taxpayers come to the end of their tax-preparation software programs, hit their computer's Enter key and find they're nailed by the reviled alternative minimum tax.
President-elect Donald Trump wants to scrap the 47-year-old tax, which was originally meant to assure the rich don't avoid paying their fair share, but which now hits more than 4 million taxpayers a year. Most are middle-class folk who've never tapped a trust fund in their lives.
"It was originally targeted at the super-wealthy when it came out, but the super-wealthy in most cases don't pay it," said certified public accountant Scott M. Aber, owner of his eponymous accounting firm in Rockland County, New York. Despite the original intent of the tax, the super-rich now typically pay more in regular income tax than they would under AMT, so the AMT has evolved into a surtax on the middle and upper middle class.