On Wednesday, President Bush signed the House legislation that provides a one-year patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, keeping an estimated 23 million taxpayers from an unexpected tax increase of approximately $2,000. The total amount the government is estimating it will not receive due to the patch is about $50 billion.
Last minute wrangling in the House and Senate kept the legislation on the floor of both chambers until late in the week before Christmas as Republicans and Democrats lined up with party stands on whether or not the government is entitled to the $50 billion that would have been added to the federal coffers if the legislation had not passed.
In the end, enough Democrats sided with Republicans to allow passage of the bill, providing relief to many middle-class taxpayers.
Due to the lateness of the bill's passage, the IRS is estimating that tax return production will be slowed by four to seven weeks and has warned that taxpayers should expect similar delays in receiving refunds this spring.