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What the Alternative Minimum Tax could mean for the average American

by Take Two®

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A sign marks the location of an H&R Block office on December 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The banking partner of H&R Block Inc. has been ordered to stop making refund anticipation loans used by millions of Block’s customers. Some analysts believe the move could cost the tax preparer as much as seven percent of its business this tax season. Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Obama is focusing on the looming fiscal cliff and how to get Congress to agree on a plan to extend at least some of the Bush-Era tax cuts.

If that effort fails, virtually every American's taxes will increase, and tens of millions of American households will have to use two different formulas for figuring their taxes.

That's because of something called the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT. It was designed to make sure millionaires paid at least some taxes, but if we fall over the cliff, the AMT — which already penalizes many middle class families — will suddenly be a reality for even people of modest income.

Here with the low-down on the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax, KPCC's Matt DeBord.  

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