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The Alternative Minimum Tax and Effective Marginal Tax Rates


  • Daniel Feenberg
  • James Poterba


This paper examines the impact of the Alternative Minimum Tax on the weighted average marginal tax rates that apply to various components of taxable income. It also considers the impact of several AMT reform proposals on the number of AMT taxpayers, the total revenue collected from the AMT, and the weighted average marginal tax rates that apply to wages, capital income, and deductions such as state and local taxes and charitable gifts. The paper uses the NBER TAXSIM model to project federal personal income tax liabilities as well as AMT liabilities between 2003 and 2013. The AMT has only a modest impact on the average marginal tax rates for most sources of income because some AMT taxpayers face higher marginal tax rates, and others lower tax rates, as a result of the tax. The projections show that modest increases in the AMT exclusion level have substantial effects on the number of AMT taxpayers, and that indexing the AMT parameters would reduce the number of AMT payers in 2010 by more than sixty percent. These changes would also reduce the AMT's impact on average marginal tax rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Feenberg & James Poterba, 2003. "The Alternative Minimum Tax and Effective Marginal Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 10072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10072
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harvey, Robert P. & Tempalski, Jerry, 1997. "The Individual AMT: Why it Matters," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 453-73, September.
    2. Harvey, Robert P. & Tempalski, Jerry, 1997. "The Individual AMT: Why It Matters," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 453-473, September.
    3. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gavin, William T. & Kydland, Finn E. & Pakko, Michael R., 2007. "Monetary policy, taxes, and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1587-1611, September.
    2. Rainer Niemann, 2004. "Asymmetric Taxation and Cross-Border Investment Decisions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1219, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David Rapson, 2007. "Does It Pay, at the Margin, to Work and Save? Measuring Effective Marginal Taxes on Americans' Labor Supply and Saving," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 21, pages 83-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Caren Sureth & Ralf Maiterth, 2008. "The impact of minimum taxation by an imputable wealth tax on capital budgeting and business strategy of German companies," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 81-110, July.
    5. Makoto Nakajima, 2010. "Optimal capital income taxation with housing," Working Papers 10-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    6. Rosanne Altshuler & Robert Dietz, 2008. "Reconsidering Tax Expenditure Estimation: Challenges And Reforms," Departmental Working Papers 200804, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    7. Niemann, Rainer, 2004. "Entscheidungswirkungen von Verlustverrechnungsbeschränkungen bei der Steuerplanung grenzüberschreitender Investitionen," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 276, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    8. William Gavin & Benjamin Keen & Finn Kydland, 2015. "Monetary Policy, the Tax Code, and the Real Effects of Energy Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 694-707, July.
    9. Rosanne Altshuler & Robert D. Dietz, 2008. "Tax Expenditure Estimation and Reporting: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 14263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Francis A. Longstaff, 2009. "Municipal Debt and Marginal Tax Rates: Is there a Tax Premium in Asset Prices?," NBER Working Papers 14687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. William Gale & Peter Orszag, 2005. "Economic Effects of Making the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Permanent," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(2), pages 193-232, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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