The champion of AMT relief

Charlie Rangel has a plan to end the tax pain. Now he just has to convince the Prez. Interview by Money Magazine's Janice Revell

Subscribe to Personal Finance
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Janice Revell, Money Magazine senior writer

charles_rangel.03.jpg
No one likes the AMT. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Charlie Rangel says he can end it once and for all.

(Money Magazine) -- Ever been zapped by the alternative minimum tax? You're hardly alone. This parallel tax system, originally designed to prevent the ultrawealthy from dodging taxes, will ensnare 4 million filers this spring, few of whom consider themselves rich.

It won't be a worry anymore if Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) has his way. The head of the House Ways and Means Committee recently introduced what he calls the "mother of all tax reforms," a bill that would forever eliminate the AMT.

President Bush has threatened to veto it; still, the bill offers insight into how the issue might be fixed if the Dems gain control of the White House in November.

Question: Democrats and Republicans alike hate the AMT. Why can't you agree on a plan to kill it?

A. The AMT will bring in close to $1 trillion in the next 10 years. We'd have to raise that elsewhere or cut programs.

Question: There's always a year-end scramble to "patch" the AMT. How is this different?

A. Every year, that patch [which raises AMT exemption, keeping 16 million filers from paying the tax] costs the government billions of dollars and we just borrow more to make it up. Under my plan, we would not borrow money to pay for tax relief, period.

Question: So how would we pay for it?

A. A maximum 1.6 million people would receive an increase in taxes, mostly couples making more than $500,000 [who'd pay a 4.6 percent surtax on income]. People making $200,000 to $500,000 would pay a 4 percent surtax, but the majority would end up paying less than under the AMT. My bill would also end the 15 percent tax rate on carried interest enjoyed by private equity and hedge fund managers.

Question: Critics call your plan the "mother of all tax hikes."

A. The surtax is modest relative to the dramatic pay some of these people get. The upper middle class, meanwhile, is caught in the jaws of an unfair AMT. Under my plan, most of your readers will see a cut in taxes. You can put out a special edition for billionaire readers that says, "Sorry, you didn't make the cut!"

Question: But doesn't Bush plan to veto your proposal?

A. I'm optimistic that we can meet with the administration this year and overhaul the system. Those who have criticized my plan should contribute ideas so we can move the discussion forward.  To top of page

Send feedback to Money Magazine
Photo Galleries
5 ways retailers are tracking you If you think pesky salespeople are invading your personal space, check out these 5 technologies that are tracking your movements throughout a store. More
Moto X vs. Droid Turbo: Which Droid should you buy? Motorola has made the two best Android smartphones this year. Here's how they stack up. More
My part-time job is a dead end, but it's all I can find CNNMoney profiles 4 of America's 7 million part-time workers unable to find full-time jobs. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.