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Why would I have to worry about AMT if my tax liability is covered through withholding from my paycheck?

The only additional tax paid by self-employed or 1099 earners is the so-called "self-employment tax" which is really just the employer's share of social security and medicare tax. It has nothing to do with AMT.

You may be thinking of estimated quarterly taxes, which are due whenever you're not getting enough withheld from your W-2 paychecks -- obviously if you're only self-employed there won't be anything withheld from your W-2s, but you can also owe estimated quarterlies if you mess up with your W-4 form or if you have a lot of unearned income (interest, capital gains). Estimated quarterlies are not an additional tax; they are just a means of payment (withholding and April 15 being the other two).

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