I urge all to read this in it's entirety. Be aware of how much worse this debacle could get!
POLITICO - Op-Ed Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee.
Lost among the fiscal cliff debates on marginal tax rates and the sequester is a bipartisan package of important tax cuts that the House and the Senate should take up and pass immediately, regardless of whether Democrats and Republicans can reach a larger compromise.
I refer to a package of tax cuts passed earlier this year by the Senate Finance Committee, commonly referred to as the “tax extenders package,” which I feel has not received the attention it deserves as a major component of the fiscal cliff.....
First, tax extenders are much less contentious than the other end-of-year problems we must resolve; the package has bipartisan support. In August, the Senate Finance Committee approved the measure by a large margin, with “yes” votes from six Republicans, including the panel’s ranking member, and all 13 Democrats.........
The third reason we should immediately pass the tax extenders package is that waiting could force the IRS to delay the tax filing season by 10 weeks or more for millions of Americans. This is because the bill extends many provisions that expired at the end of 2011, and they need to be extended for 2012 before people file their tax returns in January. After Congress acts — if it acts — the IRS needs weeks to finalize tax forms and instruction books and to program its computers to process the returns.
The IRS tells us the alternative minimum tax patch would cause the biggest delay, because of the number of tax credits and deductions that interact with the AMT. In 2010, when Congress waited until December to patch the AMT, 10 million taxpayers had to delay their filings the next year. In 2007, after another eleventh-hour patch, 13 million tax filings were delayed.
Both the patches in 2007 and 2010 were enacted in December. If we don’t patch the AMT until January, the consequences will be more severe. This would be a disaster for the middle class.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/dont-tie-tax-extenders-bill-to-fiscal-cliff-85260_Page2.html#ixzz2FVPtNayA