The Standard Deduction

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Whether you're an employee or self-employed, you may have work-related expenses you can deduct on your income tax return.

The standard deduction is a fixed amount, based on your filing status, that reduces your taxable income. You can use either the standard deduction or your actual itemized deductions on Form 1040, but not both.

The standard deduction for a single person or a married person filing separately is $6,350 (2017). Married couples filing jointly have a standard deduction of exactly twice as much as a single person's, at $12,700. If you file as a head of household, your standard deduction is $9,350.

The standard deduction is adjusted every year to keep up with inflation.

If someone else, such as your parents, can claim you on their return, your standard deduction may be lower.

If you or your spouse are considered blind or are age 65 or older, you can claim an additional standard deduction amount. Each additional standard deduction amount is currently $1,250 ($1,550 if you use the Single or Head of Household filing status).

As you go through the step-by-step interview, TaxAct prompts you to enter itemized deductions, such as mortgage interest expense and charitable contributions. If your total itemized deductions are more than your standard deduction, TaxAct uses your itemized deductions to calculate your taxes.

One way TaxAct can help you find more tax deductions is to compare your deductions this year to the deductions you took last year. Use the TaxAct Prior Year Comparison Report to see if the numbers are similar, and if not, if you may be missing a valuable deduction.


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Upcoming Tax Dates

October 9 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Columbus Day) - Details

October 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during September, report them to your employer - Details

October 15 — Individuals
If you have an automatic 6-month extension to file your income tax return for 2017, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due - Details

October 15 — Corporations
File a 2017 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due. This due date applies only if you timely requested an automatic 6-month extension Details

October 15 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065-B). This due date applies only if you were given an additional 6-month extension - Details

October 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in September.

October 31 — Certain small employers
Deposit any undeposited tax if your tax liability is $2,500 or more for 2017 but less than $2,500 for the third quarter.

October 31 — Federal unemployment tax
Deposit the tax owed through 09-if more than $500.

October 31 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax.
File Form 941 for the third quarter of 2018. Deposit or pay any undeposited tax under the accuracy of deposit rules .If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full, you have until 11-10 to file the return.

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