What is a standard deduction? How much is your standard deduction?
When you fill out your tax return, you report your gross income. But before you calculate your taxes owed, you reduce your income by claiming deductions.
Each year, the government publishes a standard deduction amount that is indexed to inflation. Tax payers can choose to reduce their income by the higher of the standard deduction or itemized deductions.
Standard Deduction 2012 Amount
The standard deduction you are allowed to take depends on your filing status. For the 2012 tax year, the amounts are as follows:
Single or Married Filing Separately: $5,950
Head of Household: $8,700
Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow/Widower: $11,900
Exceptions to the Normal Standard Deduction
Some taxpayers may be able/required to take a different standard deduction amount:
If you are married, you and your spouse must either both take the standard deduction or both itemize deductions.
If you are a dependent who is claimed on someone else’s tax return, your standard deduction may be reduced.
If you are blind or over 65, you can take an additional federal standard deduction.
Claiming the IRS Standard Deduction
To claim the IRS standard deduction, enter your total deduction amount on Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ.
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