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Standard Deduction

Most taxpayers use the standard deduction instead of itemizing

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Couple working on taxes Blend Images - Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Everyone is entitled to reduce their taxable income by utilizing either the standard deduction or by itemizing their deductions. You always want to choose the deduction that will reduce your tax liability the most, giving you the best savings possible on your tax return. Added with the personal exemption amount, the standard deduction reduces your adjusted gross income to arrive at your taxable income.

How much of a standard deduction you qualify for depends on your filing status, age, and whether you are blind.

Standard Deduction Amounts for 2014

Standard Deduction Amounts for 2013

Standard Deduction Amounts for 2012

Standard Deduction Amounts for 2011

Standard Deduction Amounts for 2010

Special Rule for Married Couples Filing Separate Returns

If you are married filing separately, you and your spouse must both take the standard deduction or you must both itemize your deductions. You cannot mix-and-match (where one spouses itemizes and the other takes the standard deduction). As such, it usually makes sense to figure your taxes both ways (each spouse itemizing vs. each spouse taking the standard deduction) to see which will yield the best overall tax savings.

 

Standard Deduction Amounts for Dependents

Dependents have a variable standard deduction amount. The amount is determined by the larger of the following two figures:

For 2014,

  • $1,000, or
  • the dependent's earned income plus $350, but not to exceed the standard deduction for the dependent's filing status.

For 2013,

  • $1,000, or
  • the dependent's earned income plus $350, but not to exceed the standard deduction for the dependent's filing status.

For 2012,

  • $950, or
  • the dependent's earned income plus $300, but not to exceed the standard deduction for the dependent's filing status.

Additional Standard Deduction Based on Age or Blindness

People age 65 or older, and people who are legally blind receive an additional standard deduction. The standard deduction is calculated by adding the person's standard deduction (based on their filing status), plus the additional amount.

Additional standard deduction amounts for 2014 are:

  • $1,550 for single or head of household
  • $1,200 for married filing jointly, married filing separately, or qualifying widow.

Additional standard deduction amounts for 2013 are:

  • $1,500 for single or head of household
  • $1,200 for married filing jointly, married filing separately, or qualifying widow.
Additional standard deduction amounts for 2012 are:
  • $1,450 for single or head of household
  • $1,150 for married filing jointly, married filing separately, or qualifying widow.
Additional amounts for 2011 are:
  • $1,450 for single or head of household
  • $1,150 for married filing jointly, married filing separately, or qualifying widow.
The additional amounts for 2010 are:
  • $1,400 for single or head of household
  • $1,100 for married filing jointly, married filing separately, or qualifying widow.

Revised 11/04/2013.

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