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Solve the mysteries of ‘vanishing’ tax breaks

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Several key tax-law provisions have recently expired or are slated to expire over the next few years. This leaves taxpayers in a quandary: What to do now? Although we don’t have a crystal ball, here are six practical steps to take right now:

1. Sidestep the AMT. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is a parallel tax system that may impose additional tax if you benefit from certain tax breaks. You may be excused from the AMT after subtracting an exemption amount based on your tax filing status, but those amounts will be reduced for 2008 unless Congress takes action.

There’s plenty of sentiment for fixing the AMT or eliminating it altogether. The problem: Under the “pay-go” rules,it will cost the government more than $60 billion for another patch. Strategy: Try to keep your AMT income as low as possible. Avoid tax preference items or defer them to 2009.

2. Allocate funds to research. There search credit officially expired after 2007...(register to read more)

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