Meanwhile, middle-income taxpayers might get "a sense of relief" that the alternative minimum tax has been patched permanently, said Mark Steber, chief tax officer with Jackson Hewitt Tax Services. The tax had threatened to swallow up more middle-income taxpayers. Going forward, it will be indexed to inflation. In 2013, the exemption amount is $51,900 for individuals and $80,800 for married couples filing jointly.
But what's permanent?
"I'm not so confident how long permanent is when you hear so much discussion on comprehensive tax reform and tax simplification," Steber said.
The IRS set the earned income tax credit this year at $6,044 for families with three or more children. That's a $153 increase from 2012.
The fiscal cliff bill extended tax deductions and credits that were due to expire for the most part, some for as long as five years. "And equally important, they were passed as they were last year," he said. "On one hand, they are the same so taxpayers will understand them."
Among them: the tuition and fees deduction that allows college students or their parents to deduction college tuition and fees up to $4,000. Elementary and secondary teachers can deduct up to $250 for out-of-pocket expenses for things for their classroom. The maximum $500 energy credit also was extended.
And for parents with children, the $1,000 child tax credit is permanent.
Many of the credits and deductions phase out for wealthier taxpayers.
For 2013, deductible mileage rates increased to 56.5 cents per mile for business, 24 cents per mile for medical or moving reasons and 14 cents for charitable purposes.
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