The House Ways and Means Committee approved on June 18 a bill introduced the previous day by Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) that would extend the patch on the alternative minimum tax (AMT) this year. The bill, the Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 (H.R. 6275), would ensure “that the number of taxpayers subject to the AMT will not increase,” according to a committee release. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 22-16; a Committee spokesperson said the bill is expected to reach the house floor over the “next few weeks.”

The committee release says the bill “provides one-year relief from the AMT without adding to the deficit by closing loopholes in the tax code, encouraging tax compliance, and repealing excessive government subsidies given to oil companies.”

Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana), unveiled June 10 a substitute amendment to H.R. 6049, The Renewable Energy and Jobs Creation Act of 2008, that would extend alternative energy tax credits and a similar patch on the AMT. The Committee says the Baucus-led bill extends tax incentives that expired at the end of 2007 or are set to expire at the end of 2008. The bill “encourages the production and use of wind and solar energy, biofuels, and carbon sequestration technologies, and includes provisions to improve transportation and domestic fuel security, and energy and conservation efficiency,” the committee said in a release.

“It’s time for Congress to end its bickering and finally pass this legislation. Extending these tax measures is simply sound economic policy,” Baucus said in announcing the amendment. “Whether it’s offering a tax credit for making your home more energy-efficient, helping school districts with low-income populations make needed repairs, providing relief on college tuition, protecting middle- income working families from AMT, or extending business tax credits for important research and development, this is tax relief that will strengthen our economy and make a real difference right away for millions of Americans.”

According to the Committee, the cost of the package is fully offset by delaying a planned tax benefit that would give multinational corporations additional tax deductions in the U.S, and by requiring hedge fund managers to report and pay taxes on their compensation as they receive it, rather than storing it offshore to avoid taxes. The one-year AMT patch is not offset.