Tax Resources

Federal Standard Deduction

Most taxpayers have a choice of either taking the federal standard deduction or itemizing their tax deductions. Depending on the individual's tax return, IRS federal standard deduction can result in less taxes owed than itemized tax deduction. When preparing tax returns, most people do both the federal standard deduction and the itemized deduction and then compare to see which one is better.

Federal Standard Deduction

What is standard deduction?

Standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduced the amount of taxable income. Because a taxpayer can take federal standard deduction, there is no need to itemize actual deductions which makes preparing tax returns easier. Items that most taxpayers itemize include:

  • medical expenses
  • certain taxes
  • charitable contributions
Is everyone eligible for federal standard deduction?

No. Some taxpayers are not eligible for federal standard deduction and need to itemize.

Who are not eligible for IRS federal standard deduction?

If a person is married but filing separately and the spouse itemizes deductions, then the other spouse has zero federal standard deduction and must also itemize. Also, if an exemption can be claimed on another taxpayer's tax return, then the taxpayer's federal standard deduction may be limited.

What do federal standard deduction amounts depend on?

The federal standard deduction amount depends on:

  • taxpayer's tax filing status
  • age (whether the taxpayer is 65 or older or blind)
  • age of spouse (if 65 or old or blind) if married filing jointly
  • whether another tax payer can claim the taxpayer's exemption on another tax return (or spouse's exemption if married filing jointly)

Tax Questions