Advanced English Dialogue for Business – Preference item

Listen to a Business English Dialogue about Preference item

Charles: Hi Orla, do you know what a “preference item” is in business and finance?

Orla: Yes, I believe it’s a term used in tax law to refer to certain items that are treated preferentially for tax purposes.

Charles: That’s correct. Preference items can include things like tax-exempt interest income, certain types of dividends, and gains from the sale of qualified small business stock.

Orla: How do preference items affect taxpayers?

Charles: Taxpayers may have to pay alternative minimum tax (AMT) if they have a significant amount of preference items, as AMT is designed to ensure that high-income taxpayers pay a minimum amount of tax.

Orla: Are there any strategies for minimizing the impact of preference items on taxes?

Charles: Taxpayers can use tax planning strategies like investing in tax-exempt municipal bonds or contributing to retirement accounts to reduce their taxable income and minimize the effects of preference items.

Orla: Can you give an example of a preference item?

Charles: Sure, one example is the exclusion of interest income from certain types of municipal bonds, which is considered a preference item for tax purposes.

Orla: How does the treatment of preference items differ between regular tax and alternative minimum tax?

Charles: Preference items are included in the calculation of alternative minimum tax, whereas they may not be subject to the same tax treatment under regular tax rules.

Orla: Thanks for explaining that, Charles. Preference items seem like an important consideration for taxpayers.

Charles: No problem, Orla. Understanding how preference items affect taxes can help taxpayers make informed decisions about their finances.