A Primer to Taxes and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

On Oct. 3, 2008, Congress passed—and 90 minutes later, former President George W. Bush signed into law—the historic financial markets bailout bill. The bill includes more than 100 tax provisions and in excess of $150 billion in separate tax breaks.

In addition to tax provisions directly related to the bailout measures, the new law includes a patch to the alternative minimum tax (AMT) that has been hitting an increasing number of taxpayers every year. Without the patch, married couples filing jointly would have been subject to the AMT on income above $45,000. With the new patch, the first $69,950 is exempt from the AMT.

The new law also includes a host of incentives targeted to businesses, several of which revise, as well as extend, tax benefits. Among the most significant are: