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Millions face higher taxes real soon without fix

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Photo -   FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2012 file photo, fog obscures the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington. Big tax increases will hit millions of families and businesses a lot sooner than many realize if Congress and the White House don't agree on a plan to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and government spending cuts. In fact, they already have. More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses already expired at the beginning of this year. If Congress doesn't extend them, a typical middle class family could get a $4,000 tax hike when they file their 2012 returns next spring, according to a private analysis. At the same time, businesses could lose dozens of tax breaks they have enjoyed for years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2012 file photo, fog obscures the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington. Big tax increases will hit millions of families and businesses a lot sooner than many realize if Congress and the White House don't agree on a plan to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and government spending cuts. In fact, they already have. More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses already expired at the beginning of this year. If Congress doesn't extend them, a typical middle class family could get a $4,000 tax hike when they file their 2012 returns next spring, according to a private analysis. At the same time, businesses could lose dozens of tax breaks they have enjoyed for years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax increases scheduled to take effect next year, big tax hikes have already gone into effect for millions of families and businesses this year.

More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses expired at the end of 2011. If Congress doesn't extend them retroactively back to the beginning of this year, H&R Block says a typical middle-class family could face a $4,000 tax increase when it files its 2012 return in the spring.

At the same time, businesses could lose dozens of tax breaks they have enjoyed for years, including generous credits for investing in research and development, write-offs for restaurants and retail stores that expand or upgrade and tax breaks for financial companies with overseas subsidiaries.

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