This bill averted the fiscal cliff that was set to occur at the start of 2013. It made permanent the Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $450,000 per year, and raised taxes on taxpayers who earn more money. It preserved the current estate tax exemption and permanently fixes prevents the alternative minimum tax from inpacting middle-income Americans.
The bill also delayed the start of $109 billion in across-the-board budget cuts until 1 March 2013. This spared federal agencies from making 8.2 percent reductions on non-defense discretionary programs and 9.4 percent reductions on defense discretionary programs at the start of 2013. The $24 billion cost to delay budget sequestration will be paid for by new revenue and alternative spending cuts over 10 years.
HR 8 was signed into law on 2 January 2013.