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How the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ will Affect Taxes and Federal Spending

A compromise is yet to be made between President Obama and Congress regarding the dreaded ‘fiscal cliff.’ The term fiscal cliff is used to describe the state of the government at the end of the year when the tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration expire. Without action by Congress, America will soon face the following:
• A rollback of the “income triggers” for alternative minimum tax (AMT) to their 2000 levels. Without the patch, between 30 and 31 million taxpayers would be paying AMT.
• An increase in maximum capital gains taxes to 20% from their current 15%. Dividends, now taxed at a maximum of 15%, would be taxed at ordinary income rates.
• Federal spending on discretionary and defense uses would be cut by $110 billion per year.
• The 2 percent payroll tax cuts would expire.
Co-Director of the national tax department and Ernst & Young, Eric Solomon said 2012 tax refunds would likely be delayed if America enters into the fiscal cliff. President Obama has proposed higher taxes on upper-income taxpayers, which a predominantly Republican House does not agree with. Many suspect a compromise might not be made until the eleventh hour.
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