IRS News Release  
April 19, 1989

Alternative Minimum Tax Changes

The Internal Revenue Service today advised taxpayers how to amend their 1987 individual income tax returns because of retroactive changes in the alternative minimum tax computation. The IRS also explained how some taxpayers who have to amend last year's tax returns can avoid paying interest on the additional tax.

The IRS said that in June it will mail notices to taxpayers affected by the changes to advise them of the need to file amended returns, but taxpayers do not need to wait to amend their returns until receiving the notices.

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) ensures that taxpayers pay a minimum of tax even though they qualify for various tax deductions and credits that could otherwise greatly reduce their tax.

According to the IRS, the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 (TAMRA) requires taxpayers to add the value of personal exemptions back into taxable income when computing alternative minimum taxable income. TAMRA became law in October 1988, making this provision retroactive to 1987 tax returns and increasing the AMT.

The IRS alerted taxpayers in the instructions to the 1987 Form 6251, "Alternative Minimum Tax - Individuals," to the pending legislation and cautioned that, if it passed, they would be required to add back their personal exemptions in computing AMT. However, the change was not enacted until after the filing deadline had passed.

Some taxpayers anticipated that the pending legislation would be approved and filed 1987 returns adding back the value of the exemption when computing AMT. Since the IRS must process returns according to the existing law, the agency corrected these returns and refunded the overpayments. The IRS said that these taxpayers must now amend their returns and pay the additional tax, but will not be charged interest if they follow special instructions.

These taxpayers should file amended returns -- Form 1040X, "Amended U. S. Individual Income Tax Return" -- and pay any tax due by Nov. 1, 1989. Taxpayers who qualify for the interest waiver should write "AMT INTEREST WAIVER" in the upper left corner of the Form 1040X and attach a copy of the originally filed Form 6251. Taxpayers should file the amended returns at the Service Center where they filed their original 1987 returns.

Taxpayers who did not add back the value of the personal exemptions when figuring their original AMT must also amend their 1987 returns. Interest will be charged on these returns and taxpayers may wish to file as soon as possible to avoid additional interest.

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