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Alternative Minimum Tax Planning Ideas...investment Interest Deductions

Investment interest is deductible in computing the Regular Tax

, although certain limitations apply. The Alternative Minimum Tax similarly allows this deduction, but it is subject to differences in the limitations. Understanding these differences will allow a taxpayer to plan in advance to minimize the AMT impact.

Investment interest is interest expense incurred to purchase investments. A margin loan on a brokerage account is an example. This interest expense is deductible to the extent a taxpayer has qualifying investment income. If the expense exceeds the income for any particular year, the excess is carried forward to be used in a future year.

For the Alternative Minimum Tax, investment income is computed the same as it is for Regular Tax purposes, but with a few exceptions.

One exception is private activity bond interest. As discussed in an earlier article, because private activity bond interest is taxed for AMT purposes, it therefore is also included in investment income in computing the allowable AMT investment interest expense deduction.

Other differences follow this same logic, that is, where AMT income is calculated differently from Regular Tax income. One example applies to taxpayers who have rental properties. Here the Regular Tax-AMT difference in computing depreciation directly affects the amount of taxable income from the property, which, in turn, affects the amount of investment income that can offset investment interest expense.

The AMT planning for this is to be aware of the AMT-Regular Tax types of differences that affect income. The more qualifying investment income a taxpayer has, the more investment interest expense he can deduct, keeping the Alternative Minimum Tax burden as low as possible.

by: George Bauernfeind
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