Standard or Itemized Deductions
March 11, 2009 – TT-2009-48
Whether to itemize deductions on your tax return depends on how much you spent on certain expenses last year. Money paid for medical care, mortgage interest, taxes, charitable contributions, casualty losses and miscellaneous deductions can reduce your taxes. If the total amount spent on those categories is more than the standard deduction, you can usually benefit by itemizing.
The standard deduction amounts are based on your filing status and are subject to inflation adjustments each year. For 2008, they are:
Married Filing Jointly: $10,900
Head of Household: $8,000
Married Filing Separately: $5,450
- Some taxpayers have different standard deductions. The standard deduction amount depends on your filing status, whether you are 65 or older or blind, whether an exemption can be claimed for you by another taxpayer, whether you plan to claim the additional standard deduction for state and local real estate taxes, and whether you have a net disaster loss from a federally declared disaster. If any of these apply, you must use the Standard Deduction Worksheet in the Form 1040EZ, 1040A or 1040 instructions.
- Limited itemized deductions. Your itemized deductions may be limited if your adjusted gross income is more than $159,950 ($79,975 if you are married filing separately). This limit applies to all itemized deductions except medical and dental expenses, casualty and theft losses, gambling losses, investment interest and certain qualified cash contributions for relief efforts in a Midwestern disaster area.
- Married Filing Separately. When a married couple files separate returns and one spouse itemizes deductions, the other spouse cannot claim the standard deduction and should itemize their deductions.
- Some taxpayers are not eligible for the standard deduction. They include nonresident aliens, dual-status aliens and individuals who file returns for periods of less than 12 months.
- Forms to use. To itemize your deductions, use Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.