The Standard Deduction

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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 $6,300 (2015). Married couples filing jointly have a standard deduction of exactly twice as much as a single person's, at $12,600. If you file as a head of household, your standard deduction is $9,250.

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

May 2 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2016. 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 May 10 to file the return.

May 2 — Federal unemployment tax.
Deposit the tax owed through March if more than $500.

May 2 — Form 720 taxes
File Form 720 for the first quarter of 2016.

May 2 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during March.

May 2 — Heavy highway vehicle use tax
File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in March.

May 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during April, report them to your employer - Details

May 10 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2016. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

May 11 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of April.

May 13 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 15 days of April.

May 16 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 16 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 25 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 15 days of April.

May 27 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of May.

May 31 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during April.

may 31 — Heavy highway vehicle use tax
File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in April.

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