Congress began 2013 by passing "The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" (the "Act") reflecting a plan negotiated by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to avoid a series of tax hikes scheduled to take effect upon the expiration of the "Bush tax cuts."

Some of the more significant features of the Act are as follows:

Income tax rates. The Act maintains the "Bush" tax rates for individuals with taxable income under $400,000 ($450,000 for married individuals, $425,000 for those filing as a head of household). Taxable income over and above these thresholds is taxed at the pre-Bush maximum rate of 39.6 percent.

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