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Have you ever tried to estimate taxes subject to AMT?

Yes. Quite often. Multiple times per year, in fact.

It's far from a flat tax, particularly if you're near the cutoff and you have to figure your taxes both ways and, as mentioned, there are a variety of items that are phased out.

I guess that your idea of estimating and my idea of estimating are somewhat different. I try to estimate close enough to avoid penalties for my clients. Generally, that's to the nearest $1000 or so. Trying to get any closer is an exercise in frustration.

Throw in the fact that the government, on occasion, waits until December to set the AMT exemptions and it's extremely difficult to estimate your taxes mid to late in the year.

Yes - there are issues with Congress acting timely and responsibly. However, in the recent years, every time they've changed AMT late in the year it has been to reduce the AMT. So if you were estimating based on the law as it existed early in the year, your estimates would be on the high side after Congress did their thing. That will keep you out of problems with penalties, but could cause you to pay in more than absolutely necessary. Which gets us back to the concepts around the accuracy of estimates noted above.

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