The amount you can claim depends upon your filing status and age. We give you the information for standard and itemized deduction amounts for taxpayers.

Standard tax deduction amounts

For taxpayers younger than 65 the amounts are:

  • Single $5,700
  • Head of household $8,350
  • Married filing jointly $11,400
  • Qualifying widow or widower $11,400
  • Married filing separately $5,700

Standard deductions for older, visually impaired taxpayers

Taxpayers age 65 or older, as well as visually impaired/blind filers, are allowed larger standard deduction amounts. To determine which amount you can claim, you must check the appropriate boxes on your Form 1040 or Form 1040A (Form 1040EZ is not available to filers age 65 or older). On line 39A of Form 1040 (line 23A of Form 1040A) the boxes you can check are as follows:

You were born before Jan. 1, 1945.*

Your spouse was born before Jan. 1, 1945.*

You are blind.**

Your spouse is blind.**

* If your 65th birthday is Jan. 1, the IRS considers you age 65 for the previous tax year and you may claim the larger standard deduction.

** You may qualify for the larger deduction even if you are partially blind by attaching a letter from your physician attesting to your limited vision.

Based on the number of boxes checked, your standard deduction will be:

Standard deductions: 65+ or visually impaired
Filing status Number of boxes checked Standard deduction amount
Single 1




Married filing jointly 1








Married filing separately 1




Head of Household 1




Additional standard deduction options

Taxpayers who do not itemize can add additional amounts to their standard deduction for a couple of situations: real estate taxes paid and sales tax paid on a new vehicle.

For property taxes, the maximum added standard deduction amount is up to $500 for single, married filing separately or head of household filers, up to $1,000 for married couples who file joint returns.

For new vehicle taxes, the state and local sales taxes paid on the first $49,500 of the auto’s cost can be added to the standard deduction amount.

The property tax and vehicle sales tax amounts are reported on the new Schedule L.

In addition, filers who live in federal disaster areas also can increase their standard deduction by any net casualty losses. In these cases, affected taxpayers will have to complete Form 4684.

Standard deductions for dependent taxpayers

Sometimes you might file a return, for example, to get a refund of withheld money, even though you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return.

In this case, a dependent taxpayer who is younger than 65 and not blind can take as a standard deduction the greater of $950 or his or her earned income plus $300. This deduction amount, however, cannot exceed the basic standard deductions for the dependent taxpayer’s filing status, which in 2009 is $5,700.

Itemized deductions

Although most taxpayers claim the standard deduction, all taxpayers may choose to itemize deductions and claim that amount if it is larger than their allowable standard deduction amount.

You must file Form 1040 and Schedule A to itemize.

Some itemized deductions are limited based on a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. For 2009, the following limits apply to itemized deductions:

Limits on itemized deductions
Medical expenses Amount exceeding 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is deductible.
Mortgage loan interest Generally fully deductible for loans totaling $1 million or less on your primary residence or second home.
Home equity loan interest Generally deductible for loans up to $100,000 that are secured by your home.
Charitable contributions Most are fully deductible as long as the gift amount does not exceed 50 percent of AGI.
Casualty losses Deductible after subtracting insurance reimbursements, 10 percent of your AGI and $100.
Casualty losses in a national disaster area No AGI limitation for net disaster losses, but the dollar amount reduction of the loss is $500; applies to disasters declared in 2008 and 2009; the losses can be claimed without itemizing (Schedule L).
Miscellaneous expenses Amount exceeding 2 percent of AGI is deductible.

In addition, overall itemized deductions also could be reduced if a taxpayer’s AGI exceeds a certain amount, adjusted annually for inflation. For 2009 returns, the reduction of total itemized deductions begins for a taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of $166,800. This income level applies to single, head of household and married filing jointly taxpayers. Taxpayers who are married but file separate returns will see their itemized deductions reduced on AGI of $83,4005 or more.

<< Back to Bankrate’s 2010 Tax guide table of contents.

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