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60 proposals aim to make figuring taxes easier

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On the eve of the federal tax-filing deadline, the Clinton administration is unveiling a package of 60, mostly minor, tax simplification proposals.

They're not designed to cut taxes, but they should make calculating them a bit less time consuming for some taxpayers.One would make life easier for parents by raising the amount a dependent could make without having to file a separate return. Another would simplify the rule for claiming a dependent younger than 19. Under the proposal, the parent could claim any child that lives with them for more than half the year. Under current law, parents must show they provided more than half the child's support.

The plan also would exempt 95 percent of all corporations - those with gross revenue of less than $5 million - from the alternative minimum tax, which is designed to ensure that businesses pay some tax even if they have enough deductions and credits to eliminate their tax liability.

And it would make it easier for taxpayers to win exemption from penalties by showing reasonable cause for failing to make payments.

The administration had revealed in its budget in February that it was working on simplification package. The announcement is scheduled Monday.

In advance, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, a leading flat-tax proponent, dismissed the administration proposals as "trying to fix the status quo."

"Americans believe that we need to fundamentally overhaul our tax system and replace it with something new - not just tinker around the edges or fiddle with the details," Armey said.