IRS Standard Deductions

A standard deduction is the dollar amount by which your taxable income is reduced. The amount of standard deduction is linked to inflation and can change from year to year.

Standard deductions also depend on the filing status of the taxpayer. There are five filing statuses on a federal tax return – single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. If more than one filing status applies to you, you are free to choose the one that results in the lowest amount of tax. The IRS can help you find out your filing status online.


How much is your standard deduction?

Here are your applicable standard deduction rates for tax year 2013, depending on your filing status.

For taxpayers younger than 65
Filing Status Standard deduction for tax year 2013
Married taxpayers filing jointly $ 12,200
Head of household $ 8,950
Single $ 6,100
Married taxpayers filing separate $ 6100
Qualifying widow or widower $ 12,200


For taxpayers older than 65 or are visually impaired
Filing Status Standard deduction for tax year 2013
Married taxpayers filing jointly From $ 13,400 to $ 17,000
Head of household From $ 10,450 to $ 11,950
Single From $ 7600 to $ 9,100
Married taxpayers filing separate From $ 7300 to $ 8,500
Qualifying widow or widower From $ 13,400 to $ 14,600


The standard deduction amounts of older, visually impaired taxpayers are noted via checkboxes on Form 1040 and Form 1040A. Depending on the age and vision of the individual, or each spouse, the standard deduction amount will vary. A couple who are both above 65 years of age and are both blind can check up to 4 boxes and get the maximum standard deduction of $ 17,000.

The IRS offers you an online facility to calculate your standard deduction amount.

Standard deduction is beneficial to you if the amount is more than the total of your allowable itemized deductions. IRS allows itemized deductions on medical expenses, mortgage loan interest, home equity loan interest, charitable contribution, casualty losses, miscellaneous expenses, business travel and entertainment expenses, education, and business use of home and car.


Persons who are not eligible for standard deduction

Opt for standard deduction if it is more than the total amount of your allowable itemized deductions. Some of you may not be eligible for standard deduction. You should itemize allowable deductions, and not claim standard deduction if:

  • your spouse itemizes deductions, and your filing status is married filing separately
  • because of the change in your annual accounting period, you are filing a return for a short tax year
  • your resident status is nonresident or dual status for the year. You are considered a dual status alien if during the year you were both a nonresident and resident alien.


A nonresident alien married to a resident alien or a US citizen during the year can be treated as a US resident according to publication 519. In this case, you are eligible for the standard deduction.

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