The Internal Revenue Service, IRS, bases the standard deduction each year on inflation. If your itemized deductions are less than your IRS standard deduction, you are better off using the standard deduction to file your federal income tax. To find your IRS standard deduction, following a few simple steps are necessary.
Go to IRS.gov. In the top right corner of the IRS website, there is a search box. Type "standard deduction" in the box and click “Search.” From the results list, find “How Much is My Standard Deduction?.” As of 2012, it was the first item in the search results. Click the link and the IRS will ask you a series of questions in order to compute your standard deduction.
Check your marital status. The 2012 standard deduction is $5,950 for a single person, according to the IRS. If you are married filling jointly, the IRS standard tax deduction for both spouses together was $11,900. If you were filing as head of household, the standard deduction was $8,700. If you are married but file separately, the standard deduction was $5,950 for each spouse. For IRS income tax liability purposes, the standard deduction is subtracted from your total adjusted gross income; thus, the IRS does not tax you on the standard deduction amount.
Check for age-related standard deduction increases. Your standard deduction may increase if you are over age 65. It may also increase if you are blind. If you are claimed on another person's tax return, your standard deduction may decrease. You will also receive additional deductions for dependent children. People filing married and separately must both either itemize or use IRS standard deductions.
Check your adjusted gross income, the amount of your earnings less your standard deduction, to see if you qualify for free filing. You may be eligible to file your federal income tax free, if after deducting your standard deduction from your gross wages, your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less as of 2011.
Tips & Warnings
- Most people who own a home and make mortgage payments are better off filing the long form and itemizing deductions instead of taking the standard deduction.
- Don't forget that any interest you paid toward student loans may be tax deductible.
- Check the IRS website each year for standard deduction amounts because the IRS may change them each year.
- Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
1040 Itemized Instructions
You can either take a standard deduction on your federal income tax return or you can itemize your tax-deductible expenses. If you've...
How Much Is Required to Itemize on Taxes?
The total amount of itemized deductions you're required to have before you can claim the deduction depends primarily on the standard deduction...
Standard Tax Deductions for Singles
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports that almost two-thirds of all taxpayers take the standard deduction on their tax return, rather than...