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2012 Expiring Incentives
2012 began with great uncertainty over federal tax policy and now, with the end of the year approaching,
that uncertainty appears to be far from any long-term resolution. A host of reduced tax rates, credits,
deductions, and other incentives (collectively called the "Bush-era" tax cuts) are scheduled to expire after
December 31, 2012. To further complicate planning, over 50 tax extenders are up for renewal, either
having expired at the end of 2011 or scheduled to expire after 2012. At the same time, the federal
government will be under sequestration, which imposes across-the-board spending cuts after 2012. The
combination of all these events has many referring to 2013 as "Taxmeggedon."
Expiring Tax Incentives
Effective January 1, 2013, the individual income tax rates, without further Congressional action, are
scheduled to increase across-the-board, with the highest rate jumping from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.
The current 10 percent rate will expire and marriage penalty relief will sunset. Additionally, the current
tax-favorable capital gains and dividends tax rates (15 percent for taxpayers in the 25 percent bracket rate
and above and zero percent for all other taxpayers) are scheduled to expire.
Higher income taxpayers will also be subject to revived limitations on itemized deductions and their personal exemptions. The child tax
credit, one of the most popular incentives in the Tax Code, will be cut in half. Millions of taxpayers
would be liable for the alternative minimum tax (AMT) because of expiration of the AMT "patch."
Countless other incentives for individuals would either disappear or be substantially reduced after 2012.
While a divided Congress may indeed act to prevent some or all of these tax increases, a year-end
planning strategy that protects against "worst-case" situations may be especially wise to consider this