Watt’s New? Michigan Energy News

Varnum LLP

Community Solar Success

Cherryland Electric Cooperative has installed 48 solar panels on a site adjacent to its offices in Grawn.  Individual customers have signed up to lease each panel for 25 years for a one-time fee of $470 per solar panel. A rebate of up to $150 will be given the customer to account for energy optimization credits. The customer will also receive a monthly billing credit for the electricity produced by the solar panel, which is expected to be at least 25 kWh per month. As many as 360 panels will be installed on the racking at the site, depending on customer support.

Energy Innovation with Nanoparticles

Grid Logic Incorporated of Lapeer is developing a low-cost superconducting wire for electric utility application. Using a new manufacturing technique, it will embed very fine particles into metals to induce superconductivity. This will reduce the cost of transmission lines, motors, wind turbines, and other electric devices. At Michigan Technological University in Houghton research on growing manganese dioxide nanorods may lead to new high performance electric capacitors. By minimizing internal resistance, such material will store more energy, allow extraction of energy more quickly, and operate longer between recharging. University of Michigan labs in Ann Arbor have added silver nanoparticles to increase solar cell efficiency by 8 percent. The nanoparticles also allow for thinner silicon layers, which means lower costs (ten times less silicon used) and flexible substrates for solar panels.

Annual Meeting of Energy Group

The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council held its Annual Meeting on April 17 in Lansing and elected new Board members. The meeting featured a solar industry panel discussion and a keynote address on the Department of Energy’s New Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative. The new Board is composed of top officials from Astraeus Wind Energy, Growth Capital Network, Novi Energy, Ecotelligent Homes, Dowding Industries, Advanced Energy Group, Dow Chemical Company, TOGGLED, Sakti 3, First Energy Finance, Wind Resource LLC, and Ventower Industries. These are companies already engaged in wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal, energy storage, and energy efficiency businesses. Committees on policy and advocacy, membership and marketing, and market and business development were also formed. The group participated in all seven energy forums held around Michigan in February, March, and April.

Wind Buoy Goes Back into Lake Michigan

The Grand Valley State University Wind Sentinel research buoy, one of only three in the world, will be returned to Lake Michigan this month. It will be placed about seven miles offshore, northwest of the Muskegon Channel, for its third research season. The project is running short of funding, and its future activities beyond this year are uncertain. Project partners include researchers from: Michigan Technological University, who are studying wind turbulence; Michigan Natural Features Inventory, a component of the Michigan State University Extension program, who are studying bird and bat activity (and who confirmed for the first time ever last summer that bats do fly over the Great Lakes); and the University of Michigan, who are conducting research on large data sets.

DOE Renews MSU Biofuels Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $25 million per year for another five years to fund the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Michigan State University is a partner in the Center which is physically based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Center supports nearly 400 researchers, students and staff working in disciplines ranging from microbiology to economics to plant biology to engineering aimed at advanced cellulosic biofuels technologies.

Courts to Rule on Wind Issues

Seventeen neighbors of the Consumers Energy Lake Wind Energy Park have filed a complaint in Mason County claiming the wind farm has negatively impacted property values and caused sleep disruption, headaches, ringing ears, dizziness, stress, extreme fatigue, nausea, and other physical and mental problems. A cease and desist order is being sought, together with damage awards, in a jury trial. In Clinton County, Forest Hill Energy-Fowler Farms LLC is suing Essex, Dallas, and Bengal townships for adopting ordinances that effectively block its wind farm development. The county had previously granted a special land use permit to Forest Hill Energy for its $120 million wind project, and the townships have moved to override that permit.

Energy Forums Concluded

With the conclusion of the last of the seven energy forums ordered by Governor Snyder in November, the next stage of fact-finding is underway. The schedule describes the May-June period as the time when the two forum chairs will be “outlining reports in each program and laying out plan for development of information that is not yet available.” The following three months is reserved for “compilation/development of information.” October-November will see the release of draft reports for public feedback. Final reports will be released in the November-December timeframe. Governor Snyder will be “making his comprehensive recommendations regarding Michigan’s energy future in December of 2013.”

Orisol Energy US, Inc. of Ann Arbor is one of the companies selected to bid on leases for submerged land in the Atlantic Ocean for offshore wind developments in the coastal waters of Virginia Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) reported that on November 23 more than a quarter of its total generation came from wind turbines at 10,012 MW  The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a special rate contract between Cloverland Electric Cooperative and the Manistique paper mill of MPI Acquisition LLC  State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood has introduced a bill to increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 22 percent by 2022  Mascoma, cellulosic ethanol maker with plans for commercial operations in the U.P., has withdrawn its $100 million initial public offering citing market conditions

Exporting Pure Michigan

Two years ago President Obama challenged the nation to increase its exports. American exports are up 34 percent since that time, with 70 percent of total exports being manufactured goods. “Made in America” still has a huge cache around the world. “Made in Michigan” can and should have significance overseas as well. Now is the time for Michigan’s alternative energy supply chain and manufacturers to look abroad for new markets, niche and otherwise. The demand for electricity is exploding in emerging markets of developing and less developed countries. The Kyoto Treaty and other international efforts are aimed at satisfying this demand with renewable resources rather than fossil fuels. With its technology, engineering, and lean manufacturing prowess, Michigan could be on the leading edge of this effort. The export market is wide open. Let’s go to work on exporting “Pure Michigan.

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SEC Announces First Non-Prosecution Agreement Involving Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Violations

DrinkerBiddle

On April 22, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it had entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement (NPA) with Ralph Lauren Corporation under which the company agreed to disgorge approximately $700,000 in connection with certain unlawful payments made by a foreign subsidiary to government officials in Argentina from 2005 to 2009.  This is the first time the SEC has used a NPA for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to the NPA, Ralph Lauren Corporation’s Argentine subsidiary paid “bribes,” i.e., payments in violation of the FCPA, to government and customs officials to improperly secure the importation of Ralph Lauren Corporation’s products in Argentina.  The purpose of the unlawful payments, made through a “customs broker,” was to obtain entry of Ralph Lauren Corporation’s products into the country without certain paperwork and to avoid certain inspections by customs officials.  The unlawful payments to Argentine officials totaled $593,000 during a four-year period.

The NPA further notes that the unlawful payments occurred during a period when Ralph Lauren Corporation lacked meaningful anti-corruption compliance and control mechanisms over its Argentine subsidiary.  The company discovered the misconduct in 2010 as a result of measures it adopted to improve its worldwide internal controls and compliance efforts, including implementation of a FCPA compliance training program in Argentina.  The NPA notes that the SEC determined not to charge Ralph Lauren Corporation with violations of the (FCPA) in light of several factors including:  (1) the company’s prompt reporting of the violations on its own initiative, (2) the completeness of the information it provided, and (3) the company’s extensive, thorough, and real-time cooperation with the SEC’s investigation.  According to the SEC, Ralph Lauren Corporation’s cooperation saved the Commission “substantial time and resources.”

In parallel criminal proceedings, the Justice Department also entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with Ralph Lauren Corporation under which the company will pay an $882,000 penalty.[1]

NPAs are part of the Enforcement Division’s Cooperation Initiative announced in 2010.  Prior to 2010, the SEC did not have the ability to enter into NPAs or Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs).  The purpose of the Cooperation Initiative was to give the Commission the flexibility to incentivize and reward cooperation while at the same time ensuring that cooperators are held accountable for their misconduct.  Since 2010 and prior to this instance, the Commission has entered into three NPAs[2] and two DPAs[3]  It is likely that the SEC will continue to use DPAs and NPAs particularly in connection with FCPA matters given the factual complexity of the cases and the difficulty in discovering violations, which almost always occur outside the U.S.

The Ralph Lauren NPA provides useful guidance as to what the SEC will consider in assessing corporate cooperation by detailing the significant actions that Ralph Lauren Cooperation took in connection with the parallel investigations.  According to the NPA, Ralph Lauren Corporation:

  • reported preliminary findings of its internal investigation to the staff within two weeks of discovering the illegal payments and gifts:
  • voluntarily and expeditiously produced documents;
  • provided English language translations of documents to the staff;
  • summarized witness interviews that the company’s investigators conducted overseas; and
  • made overseas witnesses available for staff interviews in the U.S.

The NPA also notes that Ralph Lauren Corporation entered into tolling agreements during the staff’s investigation.  The statute of limitations with respect to the 2005 conduct, the earliest conduct charged, would have likely run in 2010, just as the company reported the violations to the SEC.

The Ralph Lauren NPA provides several other takeaways.  First, the Ralph Lauren Corporation agreed to enter into the NPA “without admitting or denying liability.”  While the NPA also contains the standard provision prohibiting the Ralph Lauren Corporation from “denying, directly or indirectly, the factual basis of any aspect of the” NPA, the inclusion of the “without admitting or denying language” seems to run counter to the policy announced by the Enforcement Division in January 2012 to eliminate the use of “neither admit nor deny” language from settlement documents involving parallel (i) criminal convictions or (ii) NPAs or DPAs[4]  This may suggest that the “without admitting or denying liability” language remains negotiable.

Second, under the agreement, the Company must seek the staff’s prior approval of the contents of any press release concerning the NPA.  Third, while the SEC emphasizes the Ralph Lauren Corporation’s enhanced compliance program and successful implementation of the enhancements, it also highlights that the Ralph Lauren Corporation has ceased retail operations in Argentina and is in the process of winding down all operations there.  It is possible Ralph Lauren Corporation’s decision to close operations in Argentina was a significant factor in the SEC’s decision to use a NPA in this circumstance.  Fourth, notably, the NPA does not require the Ralph Lauren Corporation to retain an independent consultant to review its policies and procedures and to prepare a report to the staff regarding any findings.  The financial burden of independent consultant “reviews” is often significant.  The staff’s willingness to forego such an undertaking demonstrates the value of taking quick and full remedial action during an investigation.

Fifth, the NPA also refers to “gifts” such as perfume, dresses and handbags valued at between $400 and $14,000, which were provided to three different government officials during the relevant time.  This underscores the importance of having policies and procedures that extend beyond prohibiting monetary payments to government officials.  Finally, the NPA requires that the Ralph Lauren Corporation “to pay disgorgement obtained or retained as a result of the violations discovered during the investigation.”  In its press release, the SEC notes that Ralph Lauren Corporation will “disgorge” $700,000 in illicit profits and interest.  The disgorgement, however, appears to be the total amount of unlawful payments plus interest made rather than any profit earned as a result of the unlawful payments.  Disgorgement is frequently difficult to calculate, especially in FCPA cases.  It appears that rather than tracing the unlawful payments to profits, the SEC was satisfied to use the amount of unlawful payments as a proxy for disgorgement.  Moreover, the low monetary value of the unlawful payments may have also contributed to the SEC’s decision to enter into a NPA in this instance.


[1]  The agreement with the Justice Department stands as yet another example of DOJ’s position that senior management be intricately involved in anti-corruption compliance efforts.  More specifically, the agreement requires that Ralph Lauren’s “directors and senior management provide strong, explicit, and visible support and commitment to its corporate policy against violations of the anti-corruption laws and its compliance code.”  Further, the agreement requires that the company “assign responsibility to one or more senior corporate executives of the Company for the implementation and oversight of the Company’s anti-corruption compliance code, policies and procedures.” 

[2]  In December 2010, the SEC entered into a NPA with Carters Inc. in connection with a financial fraud perpetrated by a former Executive Vice President of Carters.  The NPA focused on the isolated nature of the misconduct, Carters’ prompt self-reporting, extensive cooperation and remedial actions.  In December 2011, the SEC entered into DPAs with Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) in connection with certain misleading statements claiming that the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans including subprime loans.  The NPA focused on Freddie Mac’s and Fannie’s Mae’s cooperation in connection with the SEC’s litigation against former senior executives.

[3]  In May 2011, the SEC entered into a DPA with Tenaris S.A. in connection with FCPA violations.  The DPA required Tenaris to disgorge approximately $5.4 million.  The DPA focused on Tenaris’ early self-reporting, extensive cooperation and remedial actions.  InJuly 2012, the SEC entered into a DPA with Amish Helping Fund in connection with certain misrepresentations and omissions in offering documents.  Again, the DPA focused on Amish Helping Fund’s immediate and complete cooperation, its willingness to offer investors a right of rescission and its remedial efforts. 

[4]  The Amish Helping Fund DPA entered into on July 18, 2012, does not contain the “without admitting or denying” or “neither admitting nor denying” language.

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Expanding Market for Technologies to Clean Wastewater from Hydraulic Fracturing

Michael Best Logo

Since 2005, U.S. production of natural gas has increased exponentially, from a negligible amount to almost 7.5 trillion cubic feet in 2011. The U.S. is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world.

The new-found supply of this energy source has also had a significant effect on public policy. Domestic energy production, and natural gas in particular, is caught in a battle between proponents of sustainable sources of energy such as wind and solar, the interests of traditional coal-fired plants, national security interests in reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, environmentalists and proponents of natural gas.

The epic increase in the supply of natural gas has come from the effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing. In the hydraulic fracturing process, water mixed with chemicals and sand is injected into a well at ultra-high pressure to shatter and hold open the rock below and release the gas. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the hydraulic fracturing fluid is composed of approximately 95% water, 4.5% sand and .05% different chemicals. These chemicals can number up to about 65 and include benzyne, glycol-ethers, toluene, ethanol and nonphenols. All of these chemicals have been linked to human health disorders when exposure and concentrations are too high. Because the percentages are by weight, it is estimated that approximately 20 tons of chemicals are added to each million gallons of water. A typical hydraulic fracturing procedure involves 4-7 million gallons of water so about 80-140 tons of chemicals. Each well requires millions of gallons of water (which separately is leading to confrontations over water supply in drought-stricken states). Some of the water comes back up immediately, along with additional groundwater. The rest returns over months or years.

A major issue is how to deal with the wastewater. The amount of water is significant. In most cases, the contaminated water is pumped into disposal wells, but this is not without risk. The wells and pumps can leak, allowing disposal water to contaminate existing aquifers.  In Texas alone, the amount of wastewater increase is significant. According to The New York Times, the state has more than 8,000 active disposal wells. The amount of wastewater being pumped into those wells has increased to approximately 3.5 billion barrels in 2011 from just 46 million barrels in 2005. A recent study dealing with the Marcellus Shale formation, which stretches from New York to Virginia, indicates that wastewater disposal from hydraulic fracturing could soon overwhelm the general wastewater treatment infrastructure of the formation. So cleaning this wastewater is important and represents a significant economic opportunity.

Insurers who write coverage on these environmental risks acknowledge that premiums are favorably impacted by the presence of effective technologies to clean the wastewater.

Water technology is a rapidly growing industry. Global Water Intelligence estimates the global water industry is $483 billion/year and growing by several percentage points annually. Water technology hubs are emerging to encourage and facilitate economic development, notably in Milwaukee, Singapore, Ontario and Israel.

Technologies are already being developed to treat wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. A new desalinization process developed at MIT can scrub the contaminants from the wastewater, uses significantly less energy and is less complicated than other desalinization techniques. The technique is called a carrier gas process in which water is sprayed onto warm air. The water vaporizes, and the water vapor, which contains only pure water, is bubbled through cool water and the vapor then condenses. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a process of creating centimeter-sized silicon beads that have chemical-degrading bacteria inside them. The beads are porous so the chemicals can enter but not porous enough for the bacteria to leave. These represent just two of the developing technologies to treat the wastewater. This alone will become a multi-billion dollar industry in the coming years.

Private equity and venture capitalists should take note. There is a distinct need for this technology and a rapidly increasing, lucrative market. The economic and societal benefits of cheap, plentiful natural gas cannot be denied. Hydraulic fracturing makes it happen. And hydraulic fracturing requires billions of gallons of water annually which need to be treated and/or disposed of.

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Progressive Casualty Litigation Stayed Pending Outcome of Liberty Mutual Covered Business Method Patents

Schwegman Lundberg Woessner

Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. sued different insurance companies for patent infringement of 5 of its patents in 2010-2012 in the Northern District of Ohio.  (Cases 1:10CV01370 and 1:11CV00082 against Safeco; Case 1:12CV01068 against State Farm; and Case 1:12CV01070 against Hartford.)  One of the defendants is Safeco Insurance Company, which has Liberty Mutual as its parent.  In 2012 and 2013 Liberty Mutual filed ten covered business method patent review (CBM) petitions (two CBM petitions were filed per patent).  Eight of these ten petitions were instituted for trial and two petitions were denied, but each of the five patents has at least one CBM where trial was instituted by the PTAB.

Liberty Mutual and the remaining defendants moved to stay the litigation based on the CBMs instituted.  Progressive opposed the motion to stay.  The District Court heard oral arguments on April 11, 2013, and granted the motion stay on April 17, 2013.

The court used a four-factor test set forth in the AIA section pertaining to CBMs (AIA § 18(b)(1), P.L. 112-29, 125 Stat. 284, 331):

  • (1) whether a stay, or the denial thereof, will simplify the issues in question and streamline the trial;
  • (2) whether discovery is complete and whether a trial date has been set;
  • (3) whether a stay, or the denial thereof, would unduly prejudice the nonmoving party or present a clear tactical advantage for the moving party; and
  • (4) whether a stay, or the denial thereof, will reduce the burden of litigation on the parties and on the court.

It is interesting that the Liberty Mutual litigation was previously stayed pending the outcome of ex parte reexaminations, yet the Court found the benefits of inter partes covered business method review compelling enough to order another stay pending the outcome of the PTAB trials.  Some of these benefits observed by the Court include:

  • CBM proceedings are inter partes rather than ex parte, which allows Liberty mutual “a better platform to advocate its interests.”
  • CBM proceedings are “presided over by a panel of three administrative judges whom are required to have ‘competent legal knowledge and scientific ability,’ 35 U.S.C. § 6(a), as opposed to a single patent examiner.”
  • To institute CBM review, the petitioner must show the claims are likely invalid, 35 U.S.C. § 324(a), which is more onerous than meeting the “substantial new question of patentability” standard required to initiate ex parte reexaminations.
  • The Court also found the short timeline of the CBM proceedings (to be completed within 18 months of institution of trial), to be attractive and likely to decide issues before the Court.

For further information the order for stay provides the details of the Court’s findings and has a detailed table attached at the last page showing the different CBMs and their status.

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Violence Against Women Act Renewed

Dickinson Wright Logo

Early last month, Congress renewed and extended federal legislation known as the “Violence Against Women Act” or “VAWA.”  The VAWA was originally enacted in 1994, and at that time, its objective was as clear as its name – to prevent and address domestic violence, primarily against women.  The VAWA reformed how the law grapples with domestic violence.  But the VAWA’s enactment has perhaps transformed how we look at domestic violence and the victims who struggle with it at home.

The original legislation that made up the VAWA ensured free access to court protective orders regardless of income level, established the National Domestic Violence Help-Line, and was the legislative source for fiercely contested “rape shield laws” that prohibit evidence relating to a victim’s past sexual history.  The VAWA also required training among civil servants and medical personnel to help encourage victims of domestic violence to identify themselves and reach out for help.  We likely do not notice how the VAWA has kept us mindful of the dangers of violence in the family.  After all, how often does one reflect on anti-stalking laws?  Yet, with any trip to an urgent care, emergency room, or radiologist’s lab a medical provider will ask: “Are you involved in a relationship where you don’t feel safe?”  That’s the VAWA.  And while the VAWA’s name may seem to have everything to have to do with women, the act’s recent reenactment has a much more expansive view – and reach.

Under the original enactment, some Native American tribal members were previously left out in the cold following a 1978 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978), which limited a tribe’s jurisdiction over non-Indian abusers.  Native American tribes will now have greater authority to prosecute non-Indian abusers under the reenacted VAWA, based on a special jurisdictional provision to the law. However, a tribe’s jurisdiction to address the victimization of a tribal member is restricted only to those non-Indians with significant ties to the prosecuting tribe, those who reside in the Indian country of the prosecuting tribe, or are employed in the Indian country of the prosecuting tribe, or are either the spouse or intimate partner of a member of the prosecuting tribe.  Although some critics question whether limited jurisdiction over non-Indian defendants will withstand Constitutional muster, many in support of the VAWA’s reenactment are hopeful that the ability of tribes to prosecute non-Indian offenders in some instances will reduce the nearly 40-70% of rape potential prosecutions against non-Indians that are declined by federal prosecutors.

The VAWA reenactment is also aimed at targeting cyber-bullying and other instances of abuse that were not the focus of the VAWA originally.  Protections for men and members of the “LGBT” (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) community who are struggling with domestic violence now enjoy greater recognition under the updated law.  These changes to the VAWA send a clear message that domestic violence is not a “women’s issue” – it’s a family one because anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.

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Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments Regarding Limits on Class Arbitration Waivers in Federal Cases

Womble Carlyle

Recently, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, a case that will have a substantial impact on the enforceability of arbitration agreements that contain class action waivers.  Italian Colors picks up where the Supreme Court left off in AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepción when a sharply divided Supreme Court held that a state law purporting to invalidate class action waivers in arbitration agreements was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

Here, the Supreme Court is confronting the question of whether, as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals put it, the “federal substantive law of arbitrability” can invalidate class action waivers in arbitration agreements when the underlying claims are based on federal law.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals determined that federal law requiredthe invalidation of the class action waiver because the cost of litigation compared to the relatively minimal amount of potential damages would effectively prohibit plaintiffs from pursuing their federal claims.  Concepción did not compel a different result, according to the Second Circuit, because in that case there was no showing that ”the practical effect of the enforcement would be to preclude [the plaintiff class’s] ability to vindicate their statutory rights.”

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will have a substantial impact on the viability of class action waivers contained in arbitration clauses.  If the Second Circuit’s ruling is upheld, it will provide plaintiffs with a way around the limitations of Concepción if they are able to show that litigating a matter on an individual basis would be prohibitively expensive.  A decision reversing the Second Circuit would give business owners a greater ability to avoid complex and expensive class action litigation through carefully worded arbitration agreements.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide the case before the end of June 2013.

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Far From Perfection: Individual Alternative Minimum Tax Is Still Alive

Southern Methodist University, SMU Dedman School of Law

Spring 2013 Law Student Legal Writing Contest Winner

 

Introduction

On January 2, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”).[1] ATRA § 104 provides for annual inflation adjustments for purposes of the alternative minimum tax (“AMT”).[2] The law also makes Bush tax cuts permanent.[3] This paper focuses on the influences of the AMT on the individual tax liability with the proposals on a more rational AMT or a progressive replacement for the AMT. After a historical and academic overview of the AMT in Part I, the paper introduces the reasons of changing the AMT in Part II as failure of its intended purposes and the general tax policies. By elaborating in Part III the evaluation of ATRA and addressing the possible future reforms including a more rational AMT or a repeal of the AMT, the paper concludes that ATRA solution for the AMT is not the end but another start for the future tax reform.

I. Overview Of The AMT

The individual income tax has consisted of two parallel tax systems: a regular tax and an alternative tax.[4] The current version of the alternative tax is the AMT that operates parallel to the regular tax and sets a floor on total tax liability.[5] Taxpayers whose income exceeds the AMT exemption must calculate both regular tax and AMT liabilities and pay the larger amount of the two.[6]

1.          The History Of The AMT

The original minimum tax in 1969 was to guarantee that high-income individuals paid at least a minimal amount of tax.[7] Prior to ATRA, the AMT required annual congressional actions to prevent it from expansion on more taxpayers because of its design flaws.[8] 20 historical legislations on individual minimum taxes preceded ATRA.[9] Those changes before ATRA included the rates, the exemption amounts, and the credits allowed against the tax, but the basic structure had remained unchanged.[10] Over time, the AMT has become more influential on middle-class taxpayers.[11] Before 2000, the AMT was less than 2 percent of individual income tax revenue and 1 percent of total revenue, and affected less than 1 percent of taxpayers, so it played a minor role in the tax system.[12] Since 2000, the AMT is exploding.[13] The number of taxpayers owing the AMT grew from about 20,000 in 1970 to roughly 4 million in 2011.[14]

2.          The Definition And Operation Of The AMT

The Black Law Dictionary defines the AMT as “A tax, often a flat rate, potentially imposed on corporations and higher-income individuals to ensure that those taxpayers do not avoid too much (or all) income-tax liability by legitimately using exclusions, deductions, and credits.”[15] The AMT is the addition to regular income taxes,[16] and its amount equals to the excess of the AMT liability over the regular tax liability after appropriate credits.[17] Taxpayers calculate their taxes under the tentative AMT and the regular tax, and pay the higher of the two.[18] The following table shows the general formula of calculating the tentative AMT.

Taxable Income For Regular Tax Purposes[19]
− Certain Exclusions, Deductions, And Credits Allowed In The Regular Tax[20]
− The AMT Exemption Amount[21]
× The AMT Rate[22]
− The AMT Foreign Tax Credit[23]
= The Tentative AMT

The Tentative AMT Calculation

3.          The Intended Purposes And Policies Of The AMT

Underlying goals of the AMT are requiring high-income taxpayer to pay some tax, deterring the aggressive use of tax shelters, and ensuring progressivity.[24] Being originally motivated by a simplified version of vertical equity,[25] the AMT’s simple mission was making all Americans pay tax regardless of their tax shelters and avoidance efforts.[26] Additionally, the AMT is a second-best backstop for a porous regular income tax system by reducing distortions and avoiding tax sheltering because Legislature cannot address directly some unwarranted tax shelters in the regular income tax system.[27] Moreover, the AMT should increase the tax system progressivity, which means average tax burdens increase with income-size classes in all years and ensure the vertical equity of the tax system.[28]

II. Why To Change

The AMT failed its purposes and had explosive expand to the middle-class taxpayers because it was not indexed for inflation and Bush tax cuts reduced regular income tax without a permanent AMT fix. Moreover, the AMT thwarted generally accepted tax polices such as equity and efficiency bymodifying regular income tax incentives, altering marginal tax rates, increasing complexity, and reducing transparency.

1.          Failure of Intended Purposes Of The AMT

The AMT fails its intended purposes because of its expansion. Before ATRA, two main factors were responsible for the explosive growth in the AMT since 2000: it was not indexed for inflation and Bush tax cuts reduced regular income tax without a permanent AMT fix.[29] Inflation is an important factor of the long-term AMT receipts, but the exemption amounts and the tax rate brackets in AMT were not indexed to automatically adjust and keep pace with inflation as the regular tax before ATRA.[30] Because taxpayers pay the higher of the tentative AMT and the regular tax, the different treatments between the two tax systems would push more taxpayers to the AMT. Additionally, Bush tax cuts reduced regular tax rates without changing the AMT, which would have resulted a dramatic increase in the projected future number of AMT taxpayers.[31] If Legislature had not made the temporary adjustments (“patches”) to the AMT, more returns would be subject to the AMT after Bush tax cuts.[32] However, the patches have only served to mask the underlying problems rather than a permanent solution.[33] ATRA makes Bush tax cuts permanent.[34]

Because of its expansion, the AMT failed its purposes of requiring high-income taxpayer to pay some tax, deterring the aggressive use of tax shelters, and ensuring progressivity for the following ways.[35]

Although Congress originally enacted the AMT to prevent high-income individuals from sheltering all of their income and paying no tax, its expansion gradually moves the types of the AMT taxpayers from higher-income to lower-income by encroaching on the middle class.[36] Because taxpayers would pay higher of the tentative AMT and the regular tax, the top statutory rate for regular income tax higher than the top statutory rate for the AMT would move high-income individuals without substantial sheltering to the regular tax system.[37]

Additionally, the AMT fails to impede some tax shelters. For example, the current AMT cannot stop the tax shelters by reporting capital gains, which could be deferred for years and faced a low statutory rate after recognition.[38] Under the different tax rate treatments between ordinary income and capital gain in the regular tax, an investment that would be a loss before tax when the income including capital gains was less than the expense, but the same investment could be profitable after tax because expenses were overstated for tax purposes and capital gains had lower tax rates.[39] The post-1987 AMT does not have different rate treatment between long-term capital gains and ordinary income as the regular tax, which leads high-income taxpayers report large amounts of capital gains and generally receive the same tax break under the AMT as under the regular income tax.[40]

Furthermore, progressivity of the tax system means average tax burdens increase with income-size classes in all years.[41] The contribution to the AMT from middle-class families was increasing significantly while the contribution to the AMT from high-income families was decreasing, so the AMT becomes less progressive over time,[42] which causes less vertical equity in the tax system.

2.          The AMT Thwarting Generally Accepted Tax Policies

The AMT thwarted generally accepted tax polices such as equity and efficiency bymodifying regular income tax incentives, altering marginal tax rates, increasing complexity, and reducing transparency

A.         Modifying Or Limiting Regular Income Tax Incentives[43]

For the horizontal equity, the AMT should reduce the variance of average effective tax rates among taxpayers with similar incomes.[44] However, the AMT differently affects taxpayers with similar incomes but different family circumstances or different state of residence.[45] The AMT disallows the deduction for state and local taxes, so it affects more taxpayers who live in the places with high state and local taxes.[46] Moreover, the AMT replaces the personal exemptions based on filing status and number of dependents in the regular tax with one single exemption solely based on filing status, so the AMT will not benefit larger families and marriage.[47] Additionally, the AMT has the exemption for married couples less than twice of that for singles[48] and has the same brackets regardless of filing status, so the AMT has more impact on married than unmarried.[49] Furthermore, the AMT requires higher percent of AGI as the threshold (10 percent) to deduct medical expenses than the regular tax (7.5 percent), and disallows the deduction for mortgage interest paid on secondary residences and interest paid on certain other mortgage debt,[50] which discourage the incentives to get medical treatments and purchase real property.

B.         Altering Marginal Tax Rates

Because Legislature cannot address directly some unwarranted tax shelters in the regular income tax system, the most plausible economic rationale for the AMT is that it is a second-best backstop for a porous regular income tax system by reducing distortions and avoiding tax sheltering.[51] However, because the AMT exempts a large share of income for many middle-class taxpayers and has the phase-out of the AMT exemption,[52] the AMT fails on the efficiency policy by taxing narrower base of income and imposing higher marginal rates than the regular income tax for the most AMT taxpayers.[53] Narrower base and higher marginal tax rates in AMT can decrease after-tax income, discourage work, and reduce economic efficiency.[54]

C.         Increasing Complexity And Reducing Transparency

The AMT can increase the complexity of the tax calculations and reduce the transparency of the tax system because it can affect people’s behavior, alter the distribution of taxes, and complicate the tax planning decisions.[55] Taxpayers need to complete AMT forms in addition to their regular income tax returns,[56] and keep two separate sets of books because of the different deferral preferences between the AMT and the regular income tax.[57] Most people filling out the AMT forms end up owing no additional taxes.[58] Using computer software[59] may lower the complexity of filings, but it will increase the out-of-pocket costs and decrease taxpayer’s intended incentives in the tax code.[60]

III. ATRA Solution: Not The End But Another Start

The increasing number of taxpayers in the AMT placed pressure to permanently restructure of the AMT.[61] In 2013, President Obama signed ATRA, § 104 of which provides for annual inflation adjustments for purposes of the AMT and makes Bush tax cuts permanent.[62] This part lays out the evaluation of ATRA and addresses the possible future reforms including a more rational AMT or the AMT abolishment.

1.          Evaluation Of ATRA Solution

This section assesses ATRA solution in the context of possible legislative options before its enactment, the insufficiency of the current solution, and the potential barriers for the future AMT reform.

A.         Legislative Options Before ATRA

The problems in the AMT placed pressure to permanently restructure of the AMT. Before the enactment of ATRA, the alternative options to repeal the AMT included repealing regular tax, indexing the AMT’s parameters for inflation, and allowing additional exemptions and deductions under the AMT.

(1)  The AMT Or The Regular Income Tax[63]

A debate exists on the elimination of the AMT or the regular income tax. Because ATRA indexes the AMT for inflation and makes Bush tax cuts permanent,[64] the AMT will affect 8 million households by 2020.[65] After the permanent extension of Bush tax cuts by the ATRA, repealing the AMT would reduce revenues by over $2.7 trillion between 2011 and 2022.[66] On the contrary, the advocates of regular tax state that the single AMT system would lead undesirable policy changes from current law.[67] By eliminating the regular tax, the differences between the AMT and the regular tax would alter the current distribution of the income tax, which would be especially detrimental against middle class.[68]

This paper would respectfully join the pro-regular-tax alignment. The statistical indicators of immense scope of the AMT are mostly based on the legislations before ATRA, so it must be subject to change after ATRA. Even assuring that the statistical changes after ATRA are small, it would be against the legislative logic to remove the regular tax and preserve the AMT because the regular tax is the foundation of the AMT calculation.[69] The approach of eliminating the regular tax is analogous to remove the tree trunk (the AMT) from the root (the regular tax) and expect the tree trunk to grow bigger and stronger. Additionally, simply eliminating the regular tax would sacrifice substantial revenues, impose marriage penalties, produce higher marginal tax rates, etc.[70] Admittedly, neither the AMT nor the regular tax is a perfect tax system. However, the regular tax has fewer defects than the AMT.[71] As the discussion in Part II, Section 2A, the AMT rejects the deduction of the state and local taxes; disallows exemptions for dependents; requires higher percent of AGI as the threshold to deduct medical expenses than the regular tax; and disallows the deduction for mortgage interest paid on secondary residences and interest paid on certain other mortgage debt. These defects do not exist in the regular tax. Moreover, Legislature would consider the cost-benefit to eliminate the regular tax. The cost of eliminating the regular tax would be the lost revenue from the regular tax and the cost of correcting the defects of the AMT. Assuming that the lost revenue from eliminating either the regular tax or the AMT would be close in number, the cost of improving the AMT will probably be higher than improving the regular tax because the regular tax has fewer defects than the AMT.[72]

(2) Rationale Of Congress On Choosing Inflation Index

Before the enactment of ATRA, Legislature could permanently limit the expansion of the AMT’s impact in a number of ways, such as indexing the AMT’s parameters for inflation; allowing additional exemptions and deductions under the AMT; and eliminating the AMT.[73] This part will not discuss the elimination of the regular tax as a legislative option for the reasons in the preceding section (1).

Permanently indexing the AMT’s parameters for inflation was a compelling candidate for AMT reform before ATRA. Even though the patches to the AMT exemptions can have similar effects as the inflation indexing, they create uncertainty for taxpayers and their financial decisions.[74] Additionally, allowing additional exemptions and deductions under the AMT would offset the erosion of the un-indexed AMT exemptions caused by inflation and would provide similar relief as indexing the AMT for inflation.[75] To provide some reliefs for AMT taxpayers, Legislature could allow state and local taxes deductions and dependent exemptions, lower the threshold of medical expense deduction, and loose the rules on interest deductions.Moreover, because the AMT did not fulfill its purposes or policies but became a de facto ATM machine for generating additional tax revenue from middle-class taxpayers,[76] the most comprehensive approach would simply eliminate the individual AMT, which will relief all taxpayers from the complexity and opacity of two parallel tax systems.[77] The following table gives the brief comparisons and contrasts for the three options.

                Consequences

 

 

Legislative Options

Decreased Number Of AMT Taxpayer In 2010 After Adopting The Optional Reform 2010-2019 Lost Tax Revenue By Adopting The Optional Reform
Option 1: Indexing The AMT’s Parameters For Inflation 22 million[78] $450 billion[79]
Option 2: Allowing Additional Preferences Under The AMT 25 million[80] $530 billion[81]
Option 3: Eliminating The AMT 27 million[82] $620 billion[83]

Legislative Options And Their Consequences Before ATRA

The table above can show that indexing the AMT’s parameters for inflation was the cheapest option before ATRA among the three options. Moreover, either allowing additional preferences under the AMT or eliminating the AMT is more difficult and complex legislation procedures than indexing the AMT for inflation. Allowing additional preferences will have a lot of detailed changes for the current regular tax system. Additionally, the following Section 3 of the paper can show that eliminating the AMT will be a progressive procedure with the AMT indexing as the initial step. Furthermore, indexing the AMT for inflation will be the prerequisite of allowing additional preferences under the AMT because the preferences should be indexed for inflation.[84] So Congress made a right choice to have the AMT indexing for inflation in ATRA.

B.         Insufficiency Of ATRA Solution

The AMT actually affects taxpayers with similar incomes but different family circumstances or different state of residence differently, raising the variance of after-tax income.[85] After ATRA, the AMT still rejects the deduction of the state and local taxes; disallows exemptions for dependents; requires higher percent of AGI as the threshold to deduct medical expenses than the regular tax; and disallows the deduction for mortgage interest paid on secondary residences and interest paid on certain other mortgage debt. Moreover, ATRA does not eliminate the phase-out of the AMT exemption that leads additional marginal tax rates,[86] so most taxpayers still have higher marginal tax rates under the AMT than under the regular income tax.[87] Additionally, ATRA does not reduce complexity and increase transparency of the AMT. Taxpayers still need to complete AMT forms in addition to their regular income tax returns,[88] and keep two separate sets of books.[89] Furthermore, the AMT after ATRA still fails to impede some shelters, such as the ones involved with capital gains.[90] The future legislations after ATRA should change these defects or abolish the whole AMT.

C.         Barrier To AMT Reform After ATRA

A significant barrier to AMT reform has been the challenge of what to do about the lost revenues.[91] If the AMT reform would have no offsets, federal budget deficits would rise and the cost would be shifted to the future taxpayers.[92] Methods of offsetting the revenue loss from the AMT reform include broadening the base for the regular income tax or raising its rates, increasing revenues from other tax sources, and reducing spending.[93] Regular tax system would have to rise by a similar magnitude to offset the revenue loss, may eliminate various tax preferences, and could raise all or some of rates on capital gains, dividend income, etc.[94] However, if other tax increases or spending reductions would offset the resulting revenue losses, the AMT reform would benefit some taxpayers and disadvantage others.[95]

2.          Possibility Of Creating A More Rational AMT

The more rational AMT should “keep the baby but throw out the bathwater.”[96] If the AMT will remain, a more rational system should allow additional exemptions and deductions as the regular tax[97], and neutralize the potential federal deficit by increasing the AMT tax bracket[98] and eliminating the preferential rates for capital gains in regular tax.[99]

3.          Feasibility Of Repealing The AMT

If Legislature will repeal the AMT, it can be a progressive elimination.[100] The following flowchart illustrates the progressive procedure of the AMT elimination.

à

Indexing The AMT For Inflation

Step 1

(Completed)

à

Allowing Dependent Personal Exemptions

Step 2

à

Repealing The Phase-out And Allowing Same Deductions As Regular Tax

Step 3

à

Deleting Deferral Preferences

Step 4

à

 NO AMT

AMT

The Flowchart On The AMT Progressive Elimination

ATRA has already finished Step 1.[101]  Step 2 can remove almost the entire middle class from the AMT.[102] Step 3 will eliminate the major different tax preferences between the AMT and the regular tax and end the AMT except for high-income taxpayers.[103] Step 4 will significantly increase the number of high-income taxpayers who pay no income tax because deferral preferences have a greater tendency to affect high-income taxpayers.[104]

Two reasonable methods can offset the revenue loss after the AMT progressive elimination. First, after the AMT deletion, Legislature can impose an add-on tax.[105] However, this option is actually back to the origin of the AMT,[106] and will have the possibility to repeat some AMT mistakes in future. Second, changing the regular income tax can reduce some federal deficits.[107] Some AMT provisions, which are preventing investment activities to avoid the regular income tax,[108] should be incorporated into the regular income tax after repealing the AMT.[109] But the legislation of such incorporations may not be easy because the AMT was created to backstop the unwarranted tax shelters that Legislature could not address directly for some reasons in the first place.[110] Additionally, Legislature can raise some or all of the regular income tax rates, including tax rates on capital gains and dividend income,to compensate the lost revenue after the termination of the AMT.[111] Moreover, the AMT elimination can pair with the abolishment of various regular tax preference, such as state and local tax deduction to reduce the federal deficits.[112]

Conclusion

The individual AMT operates parallel to the regular income tax by defining income differently, imposing different tax rates, and allowing different tax preferences. Ideally, the most comprehensive approach should be reforming the income tax to eliminate the AMT. But considering the reality under the huge pressure of potential federal revenue loss, Legislature chose the AMT indexing for inflation in ATRA. As Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah told ABC News, “Far from perfect, this legislation does include a permanent fix to the ever-growing the AMT, giving millions of hard-working, middle-class families certainty that the nightmare of this tax has finally come to an end.”[113] As long as the individual AMT exists, the future tax reform is still foreseeable.


[1]126 Stat 2313 (2013).

[2]Id.

[3]Luke Landes, Fiscal Cliff Bill Passes: American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8), http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/fiscal-cliff-bill-american-taxpayer… (last visited April 1, 2013).

[4]Congressional Budget Office, Economic and Budget Issue Brief: The Individual Alternative Minimum Tax, 1 (2010); Katherine Lim & Jeff Rohaly, The Individual Alternative Minimum Tax: Historical Data and Projections, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 1, 3 (2009).

[5]Id.

[6]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 2; I.R.S., supra note 7 (“Thus, the AMT is owed only if the tentative minimum tax is greater than the regular tax.”);Burman et al., supra note 7, at 1.

[7]I.R.S. Topic 556 – Alternative Minimum Tax, http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc556.html (last visited April 1, 2013); Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at3; Leonard E. Burman et al., The Individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): 12 Facts and Projections, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 1 (2008).

[8]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at3.

[9]Leonard E. Burman et al., Historical Features of Individual Minimum Taxes, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 1, 2 (2011).

[10]Greg Leiserson & Jeff Rohaly, What Is Responsible for the Growth of the AMT?, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 1 (2007).

[11]Burman et al., supra note 9, at 1.

[12]The Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and Background Relating to the Individual Alternative Minimum Tax, JCX-10-07 (2007); Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at5-7.

[13]Burman et al., supra note 7, at 1.

[14]Aggregate AMT Projections 2011-2022, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (2011).

[15]Black’s Law Dictionary, 1, 1594 (9th ed. 2009) (under the definition of “Tax”).

[16]1 MertensLaw of Fed.Income Tax’n§ 4:39 (“The alternative minimum tax is a tax upon income.”).

[17]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 2.

[18]Id. at 2; I.R.S., supra note 7;Burman et al., supra note 7, at 1.

[19]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at3.

[20]I.R.S., supra note 7.

[21]I.R.S., supra note 7 (stating that the AMT exemption amount is set by law).

[22]Id. (stating that AMT rate is set by law and the rates in effect for the regular tax are used for capital gains and certain dividends).

[23]I.R.C. § 59; Leonard E. Burman & David Weiner, Suppose They Took the AM Out of the AMT?,Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 1, 6 (2007) (“After determining pre-credit tentative AMT liability above, taxpayers subtract foreign tax credits (FTC) to calculate tentative AMT liability.”).

[24]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at6.

[25]Leonard E. Burman et al., The Expanding Reach of the Individual Alternative Minimum Tax, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 1, 7 (2005).

[26]2005 Report of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Chapter Five-Seven, supra note 26, at 86.

[27]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 8 (“For example, by taxing interest income from bonds that state and local governments issue to support private activities like shopping centers or stadiums, income that is exempt from the regular income tax, the AMT reduces the subsidy afforded such investments.”).

[28]Tom Petska & Mike Strudler, Income, Taxes, And Tax Progressivity: An Examination Of Recent Trends In The Distribution Of Individual Income And Taxes, Statistics of Income Division, I.R.S., http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/indincdi.pdf (last visited April 1, 2013).

[29]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at3; Burman et al., supra note 7, at 2; Leiserson & Rohaly, supra note 10, at 1.

[30]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 1.

[31]Leiserson & Rohaly, supra note 10, at 3; Gabriel Aitsebaomo, The Individual Alternative Minimum Tax and the Intersection of the Bush Tax Cuts: A Proposal for Permanent Reform, 23 Akron Tax J. 109, 134 (2008).

[32]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 1.

[33]Leiserson & Rohaly, supra note 10, at 3.

[34]Landes, supranote 3.

[35]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 11.

[36]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 5-7; Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at6; Burman et al., supra note 7, at 2.

[37]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at6.

[38]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 9.

[39]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 9 (2005).

[40]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at6, n.10.

[41]Petska & Strudler, supra note 28.

[42]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 7.

[43]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 7.

[44]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 7.

[45]Id. at 7-8.

[46]Burman et al., supra note 7, at 2.

[47]I.R.C. §§ 55, 56, 151; Burman et al., supra note 7, at 2.

[48]I.R.C. §§ 55(d)(1), 56; Rev. Proc. 2013-15, 2013-5 I.R.B. 444.

[49]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at7.

[50]I.R.C. §§ 55, 56, 163, 213; Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 8.

[51]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 8.

[52]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at8-9.

[53]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at10.

[54]Burman et al., supra note 7, at 2 (“Marginal tax rates affect the incentive to work, save, and comply with the tax system.”); Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 7-8 (“The AMT can subject taxpayers to higher marginal tax rates—which, in turn, influence decisions about how much to work and save, potentially reducing economic efficiency.”).

[55]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 7.

[56]Id. at 8.

[57]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 11.

[58]Burman et al., supra note 7, at 2; Burman et al., supra note 25, at 11.

[59]See, e.g.,I.R.S., supra note 7 (“If you are filing the Form 1040, you may use the AMT Assistant for Individuals, which is an electronic version of the AMT worksheet available on the IRS website.”).

[60]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 9.

[61]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 3.

[62]126 Stat 2313 (2013); Landes, supranote 3.

[63]Burman & Weiner, supra note 23, at Table 2 (listing the regular tax and the AMT provisions for comparison and contrast).

[64]126 Stat 2313 (2013); Landes, supranote 3.

[65]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at6.

[66]Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, supra note 14.

[67]2005 Report of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Chapter Five-Seven, supra note 26, at 87.

[68]Burman et al., supra note 7, at 2 (“The AMT is encroaching on the middle class.”);2005 Report of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Chapter Five-Seven, supra note 26, at 87 (“Relative to the current system, many middle-income taxpayers would face higher marginal tax rates, while lower- and very high-income taxpayers would face lower marginal tax rates.”).

[69]I.R.S., supra note 7 (“The AMT is the excess of the tentative minimum tax over the regular tax.”); Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 2 (stating that the AMT is the addition to regular income taxes, and its amount equals to the excess of the AMT liability over the regular tax liability after appropriate credits).

[70]Burman & Weiner, supra note 23, at 17.

[71]2005 Report of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Chapter Five-Seven, supra note 26, at 87.

[72]Id.

[73]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 9.

[74]Id. at 10.

[75]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 10.

[76]Aitsebaomo, supra note 31, at 141.

[77]2005 Report of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Chapter Five-Seven, supra note 26, at 85-87.

[78]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 10 (“If the exemption amounts in effect for 2009 were made permanent and indexed for inflation after 2009, along with the AMT’s brackets and the threshold at which the exemption phased out, 5 million taxpayers would pay the AMT in 2010—rather than the 27 million projected to pay under current law—and revenues would be about $450 billion lower from 2010 to 2019 than they would be otherwise.”).

[79]Id.

[80]Id. (In January of 2010, The CBO estimates that this option would decrease the number of people affected by the AMT from 27 million to 2 million in 2010).

[81]Id.

[82]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at3 (“Absent another temporary fix or other change in law, the tax cuts and lack of indexation will combine to push more than 27 million taxpayers onto the AMT in 2010.”).

[83]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 10 (The CBO estimating a revenue cost of more than $620 billion from 2010 to 2019 for the AMT elimination). See also Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, supra note 14(showing that the cost of repealing the AMT would be over $2.7 trillion between 2011 and 2022 after the permanent extension of Bush tax cuts by the ATRA).

[84]Id. (“To provide some relief to taxpayers, lawmakers could allow them to use the standard deduction, personal exemptions, and deductions for state and local taxes (as they are used under the regular tax) when computing their tax liability under the AMT. The standard deduction and personal exemptions are both indexed for inflation, and state and local taxes also generally rise with prices.”).

[85]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 7-8.

[86]I.R.C. §§ 55(d)(1), 56; Rev. Proc. 2013-15, 2013-5 I.R.B. 444; 2005 Report of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Chapter Five-Seven, supra note 26, at 87 (“The phase-out of the AMT exemption at higher income levels actually creates two additional marginal tax rates – and a resulting tax rate schedule of 26, 32.5, 35, and 28 percent.”).

[87]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 8.

[88]Id.

[89]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 11.

[90]Lim & Rohaly, supra note 4, at6, n.10.

[91]Burman et al., supra note 7, at 3 (“Paying for reform or repeal is a key issue”).

[92]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 1.

[93]Id. at 9.

[94]Id.

[95]Id. at 1.

[96]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 11.

[97]Aitsebaomo, supra note 31, at 139 (“Given that the major pitfall of the AMT is its increasing proliferation into the unintended returns of middle and upper middle class taxpayers, a permanent remedy to this unintended spread should be to exempt taxpayers with AGI of $250,000 or less from the AMT altogether. The implementation of such exemption would help align the AMT closer to its original purpose and policy objective of ensuring that wealthy individuals (not middle and upper middle class taxpayers) would be subject to the AMT.”); Burman et al., supra note 25, at 13.

[98]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 13 (proposing increasing the 28 percent AMT bracket to 33.5 percent to offset the revenue loss because it would only increase taxes for those with incomes above the AMT exemption phase-out).

[99]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 13; Burman & Weiner, supra note 23, at 15 (“If capital gains are taxed at the same 37 percent rate as other income, the option could raise $67 billion that could be applied to deficit reduction.”).

[100]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 11-13.

[101]Id.at 11.

[102]Id. at 12.

[103]Id.

[104]Id. at 12-13.

[105]Leonard E. Burman & Greg Leiserson, A Simple, Progressive Replacement for the AMT, Tax Analysts Viewpoints, 945 (2007) (proposing the 4 percent add-on tax of AGI above certain amount that will be indexed for inflation.).

[106]Burman et al., supra note 9, at 1(illustrating 4 add-on tax related legislations in the early stage of the AMT as 1969 TRA, 1976 TRA, 1978 Revenue Act, and 1982 TEFRA).

[107]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 14.

[108]Id. at 8 (“For example, by taxing interest income from bonds that state and local governments issue to support private activities like shopping centers or stadiums, income that is exempt from the regular income tax, the AMT reduces the subsidy afforded such investments.”).

[109]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 10.

[110]Burman et al., supra note 25, at 8.

[111]Congressional Budget Office, supra note 4, at 10.

[112]Id.; Burman et al., supra note 25, at 14, n.13 (stating that eliminating the regular income tax deduction for state and local taxes would more than pay for repealing the AMT).

[113]Dan Kadlec, At Long Last, a Permanent Patch for a Dreaded Tax Read, Time Business & Money (Jan. 03, 2013), http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/fiscal-cliff-bill-american-taxpayer-relief/.

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