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 $6,300 (2016). 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 $9,300.

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

March 1 — Farmers & fishermen
File your 2016 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due Details

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

March 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 February. Details

March 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 13 days of February.0

March 15 — S Corporations
File a 2016 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due Details

March 15 — S Corporation election
File Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, to elect to be treated as an S corporation beginning with calendar year 2017. If Form 2553 is filed late, S corporation treatment will begin with calendar year 2018.

March 15 — Partnerships
File a 2016 calendar year return (Form 1065) Details

March 15 — Electing larger partnerships
Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K1 (Form 1065B), Partner's Share of Income (Loss) From an Electing Large Partnership, or a substitute Schedule K1. This due date applies even if the partnership requests an extension of time to file the Form 1065B by filing Form 7004

March 15 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2016 calendar year return (Form 1065-B) Details

March 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule Page 6 Publication 509 (2015) applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.

March 15 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.

March 25 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 14 days of February.

March 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of March.

March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2
File copies of all the Forms W2 you issued for 2016. This due date applies only if you electronically file.

March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2G
File copies of all the Forms W2G you issued for 2016. This due date applies only if you electronically file.

March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms 8027
File Forms 8027 for 2016. This due date applies only if you electronically file.

March 31 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during February.

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