taxes

Standard tax deduction amounts

Taxes » Tax Deductions » Standard Tax Deduction Amounts

Tax form 1040 and receipt | iStock/Enrico Fianchini

iStock/Enrico Fianchini

Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction amount. The amounts are adjusted each tax year for inflation.

For 2015, the standard deduction for taxpayers younger than 65

Single$6,300
Head of household$9,250
Married filing jointly$12,600
Qualifying widow or widower$12,600
Married filing separately$6,300

Standard deductions for older, visually impaired taxpayers

Taxpayers who are 65 or older, or who are blind, receive larger standard deduction amounts. Each is noted via a checkbox on Form 1040 and Form 1040A. The age and vision of each spouse is counted separately, meaning that an older couple could check up to 4 boxes. The final box count is used to figure the adjusted standard deduction amount.

For 2015, the standard deduction for taxpayers older than 65 and/or visually impaired

Filing statusNumber of boxes checkedStandard deduction amount
Single1
2
$7,850
$9,400
Married filing jointly1
2
3
4
$13,850
$15,100
$16,350
$17,600
Married filing separately1
2
3
4
$7,550
$8,800
$10,050
$11,300
Head of household1
2
$10,800
$12,350
Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child1
2
3
4
$13,850
$15,100
$16,350
$17,600

For standard deduction amount purposes, if your 65th birthday was Jan. 1, the IRS considers you age 65 for the previous tax year and you may claim the larger standard deduction.

As for vision considerations, 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.

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 $1,050 or his or her earned income plus $350. This deduction amount, however, cannot exceed the basic standard deductions for the dependent taxpayer's filing status.

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, or AGI. Others are restricted to a threshold, or percentage, of the filer's AGI.

Taxpayers who make a certain amount also may not be able to deduct all of their itemized deductions. The total of Schedule A deductions begins phasing out if your AGI is more than $154,950 if married filing separately; $258,250 if single; $284,050 if head of household; or $309,900 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er).

Limits on itemized deductions

Medical expensesAmount exceeding 10% of your AGI is deductible. The threshold for taxpayers older than 65 remains at 7.5% through the 2016 tax year.
Mortgage loan interestGenerally, fully deductible for loans totaling $1 million or less ($500,000 if married filing separately) on your primary residence or second home.
Home equity loan interestGenerally, deductible for loans up to $100,000 ($50,000 if married filing separately) that are secured by your home.
Charitable contributionMost are fully deductible as long as the gift amount does not exceed 50% of AGI.
Casualty lossesDeductible after subtracting insurance reimbursements, 10% of your AGI and $100.
Miscellaneous expensesAmount exceeding 2% of AGI is deductible.

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