Also, the temporarily patched exemptions for the alternative minimum tax may have come to an end in 2011. For 2012 and future years, the AMT exemption amounts will revert to a lower statutory amounts ranging from $22,500 to $45,000. "This will result in more taxpayers being subject to the AMT, and will increase the adjustments for taxpayers already subject to the AMT," the society says. Barring the extension of a temporary reprieve, in 2012 the Social Security tax will revert to its regular rate of 12.4%, with half (6.2%) paid by employers and the other half (6.2%) paid by employees. Self-employed people pay the full 12.4% rate as part of the self-employment tax. A temporary rate reduction dropped the rate to 4.2% for employees and 10.4% for self-employed persons. House Republicans took a political hit last month when they were seen as OK with rejecting a two-month extension and talks about the long term in favor of letting the tax rate rise while holding only long-term talks. The $2,500 maximum deduction for interest paid on student loans begins to phase out for married taxpayers filing joint returns at $125,000 and phases out completely at $155,000, an increase of $5,000 from the phase-out limits for tax year 2011. For single taxpayers, the phase-out remains at 2011 levels. A $500 credit for energy-efficient home improvements (such as windows, insulation and heating systems) has expired. Also chopped: a state and local sales tax deduction; higher-education tuition and fees deductions, the deduction for student loan interest, teachers' classroom expense deductions and mortgage insurance premium deductions. Retirees can no longer make up to a $100,000 charitable contribution directly from their IRAs to avoid taking a distribution into taxable income. Small-business concerns A key bit of uncertainty for businesses in 2012 is what happens to health care reforms set in motion by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.