Standard deduction

Chapter 21
Standard deduction

What’s New

Standard deduction increased. The standard deduction for some taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040) is higher for 2014 than it was for 2013. The amount depends on your filing status. You can use the 2014 Standard Deduction Tables in this chapter to figure your standard deduction.

This chapter discusses the following topics.

  • How to figure the amount of your standard deduction.
  • The standard deduction for dependents.
  • Who should itemize deductions.

Most taxpayers have a choice of either taking a standard deduction or itemizing their deductions. If you have a choice, you can use the method that gives you the lower tax.

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduces your taxable income. It is a benefit that eliminates the need for many taxpayers to itemize actual deductions, such as medical expenses, charitable contributions, and taxes, on Schedule A (Form 1040). The standard deduction is higher for taxpayers who:

  • Are 65 or older, or
  • Are blind.

Persons not eligible for the standard deduction. Your standard deduction is zero and you should itemize any deductions you have if:

  • Your filing status is married filing separately, and your spouse itemizes deductions on his or her return,
  • You are filing a tax return for a short tax year because of a change in your annual accounting period, or
  • You are a nonresident or dual-status alien during the year. You are considered a dual-status alien if you were both a nonresident and resident alien during the year.

Note. If you are a nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, you can choose to be treated as a U.S. resident. (See Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.) If you make this choice, you can take the standard deduction.

Standard Deduction Amount

The standard deduction amount depends on your filing status, whether you are 65 or older or blind, and whether an exemption can be claimed for you by another taxpayer. Generally, the standard deduction amounts are adjusted each year for inflation. The standard deduction amounts for most people are shown in Table 21-1.

Decedent’s final return.