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2014 larger standard deductions

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Posted: 1 pm ET

Every taxpayer gets a chance to reduce adjusted gross income to a lower taxable income level by claiming tax deductions.

Itemized deductions get a lot of attention, primarily because there are so many of them, and in many cases they require more calculations. But the tax fact is that around two-thirds of taxpayers each year claim the standard deduction.

For the 2014 filing season, those amounts -- yes, there is a standard deduction amount for each of the five filing statuses -- are going up a tad. The increases are thanks to the inflation adjustments that the Internal Revenue Service makes each year to about 40 tax provisions.

The standard deduction amounts for 2014 are:

  • $6,200 for single filers and married people filing separate returns.
  • $9,100 for head-of-household taxpayers.
  • $12,400 for married couples filing jointly and qualifying widows/widowers.

Compared to 2013 returns, that's a $100 deduction increase for singles, $150 for heads of households and $200 for married joint filers.

Remember, these new amounts are for the 2014 tax season and returns that are due on April 15, 2015. But the amounts can help you with tax planning in the coming year.

Why go standard?

There are two reasons folks opt for the standard deduction.

One, it's easy.

Most years, the IRS prints the standard deduction amount on Form 1040A and Form 1040. Plus, there's no need to hang onto a mess of receipts and add them up when you do your taxes.

But the main reason that most of us claim the standard deduction is that our standard amount is more than our itemized expenses.

In many cases, the only thing that gets taxpayers over the standard deduction amount is homeownership. The addition of mortgage interest and property taxes often is enough to exceed the standard amount for filers. Add in charitable donations and then you'll want to fill out a Schedule A.

But if you don't own a home, or you've owned it long enough so that you're no longer paying a lot of interest on your loan, then the standard deduction is for you because it's more.

That's the key. You pick the larger deduction amount.

Deduction choices aren't written in stone. Every year, you get to choose which method, standard or itemized, you want to use.

So when the calendar rolls over to Jan. 1, 2014, note the new standard deduction amounts and consider whether you need to start hanging onto tax receipts.

Have you switched from one deduction method to another? Which way did you go, from standard to itemized or vice versa? Why?

***

Want the latest news on taxes, tax reform prospects, filing deadlines, political fights, Internal Revenue Service alerts and tax-saving tips? Subscribe to Bankrate's free Weekly Tax Tip newsletter.

You also can follow me on Twitter: @taxtweet.

Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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19 Comments
George
November 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Mike G is right:

"This standard deduction increase happens every year and it (barely) reflects your increase in your cost of living. So, it it is not really "good news" or a gift from government."

It doesn't matter, left wing, right wing, no wing.. All made up terms to divide the humans more..

I will say there is much more left wing or socialist or "progressive" propaganda out there now a days then any other.

So there is 1... 1 single "right wing" station.. lets all harp on that.. lol

mean while the government does NOT count utility rates in the cost of living equation.. Am I supposed to live in the dark with no water? and no heat? they don't include it because they know the truth. inflation is like 400% compared to just 10 years ago.

thats the reality. no right wing or left wing spin there..

hryder
November 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm

One only OWNS a home when there is no lien of any type on the real property. When a mortgage exists it is really no different than a car loan except there are many more payments.

bob r
November 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I am an enrolled agent. The irs website has the answers erica needs. she can take surviving spouse in the next two years using joint rates as long as she does not remarry and still has the dependents. Those are the irs rules and I did not charge a dime for the advice. I am not a left or right wing person just someone WITH the credentials trying to help someone. Lets keep the rants to ourselves and be better off for it.

Candace
November 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Erica,
If I remember properly you can qualify for the $12,400 for married couples filing jointly and qualifying widows/widowers deduction as a Widow ONLY in the year of your spouses death. It is so that you are not penalized by the loss where income from the spouse contributed to your tax liability. That spouse basically remains a deduction.

Bill P
November 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

R Doughty, How much does your CPA charge you for tax advice? I am sure it isn't free and Irvin and Erica should know that tax experts charge for advice that is why they are looking for answers here.

Ed D
November 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

So Mike G., you think the left has a pretty powerful propaganda machine. HUH??? Ever here about a little known media source called FOX.

Right wing propaganda, and distortion around the clock.

R Doughty
November 13, 2013 at 11:50 am

So Mike G - do you have the credentials to help Irvin and Erica? Or not...
I don't think anyone on here was wanting to get your rant for the day comment!

TO Irvin and Erica: Sometimes I just have to get a professional to answer a question or two for me. I file my own taxes using a software. But I still keep the phone number of a CPA who I can call and ask questions of when I am not sure what direction to go. Both of you have good questions. I hope you ask a credentialed professional who can answer how this effects your state and fed return.

Mike Gabel
November 13, 2013 at 10:15 am

The title on the Comcast website would lead you to believe that the government is generous and is actually lowering your taxes by raising your ability to deduct expenses against your income.

This standard deduction increase happens every year and it (barely) reflects your increase in your cost of living. So, it it is not really "good news" or a gift from government.

Comcast and BankRate.com are part of the left wing propaganda machine.

IRVIN GAUBERT
November 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

I live in tennessee know and i am 69 yrs. my wife and are retired she is 57 yrs. what is my deduction? our house is paid off, what is the best way to file?

Erica Linares
November 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

Hi,

A question regarding the widow tax break. How do you qualify for the higher tax break?

Thank you
Please let me know
Erica

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