All we hear in the news media these days are updates on the fiscal cliff and deficit negotiations.
But Congress has three deadlines it must soon meet, of which the fiscal cliff is the least concerning.
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Passing another patch against the effects of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) will avoid a $90 billion tax increase for everyone, including the middle class and the wealthy.
Congress can pass the patch after year-end but that does nothing to help the IRS with its forms or tax preparers and programmers at tax preparation companies.
The debt ceiling is the other fiscal cliff. It is the most critical and is the least flexible. Current projections are that the US has enough cash on hand to last about three months after the debt ceiling is reached close to the end of the year.
Finally, the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts won’t happen immediately as the other two will. Those increases and cuts will be phased in over time. Congress also has the power to change taxes retroactively.
Lastly, Congress truly does not have until December 31 to come up with a solution on any of these. Its session ends December 18
. That’s today.