Federal Standard Deduction
Did you know that YOU can get the federal standard deduction?
A lot of people have the impression that the only way they can get an IRS standard deduction is if they have certain types of expenses like charity or mortgage or business expenses.
This is not true!
Everybody is entitled to a standard tax deduction on their tax return.
Each person(unless they are another taxpayer's dependent)
who is filing a tax return gets a federal standard deduction of $5800-. If you are Married Filing Jointly you get two deductions totaling $11,600-.
There is no Marriage Penalty anymore. Previously, the deduction for a married couple was less than double of the standard tax deduction of a single taxpayer. Married couples filing separately would also get a lower deduction each than an unmarried single. This put married couples at a disadvantage; hence the Marriage Penalty. Even though here it was changed you could still sometimes find marriage penalty by other deductions.
A Qualifying Widow(er) with a dependent child also gets a double deduction. A qualified widow(er) is somebody who lost their spouse in the past two years (the tax year being filed not include) and did not remarry by the end of the tax year. The dependent child must be an own child or stepchild with whom the widow(er) lived with all.
If you are a Head of Household you get an additional $2700- for keeping up your home for a qualifying person.
You are eligible if you are unmarried, meaning you can be single, legally separated, divorced, or married but lived apart from your spouse for the last six months of the year. You also have to pay more than half of the upkeep of your home that is also the home of a qualifying person.
The qualifying person can be either your child or grandchild who lives with you, your parent who does not necessarily have to live with you, or a qualifying relative who lives with you and you can claim an exemption for.
Dependents who file their own tax return get a limited standard deduction. It can either be as low as $950- or $300- more than the dependent's earned income but never more than the regular federal standard deduction amount.
Here are some things that can increase your IRS standard deduction:
Over age 65
You get an additional deduction for being over age 65. You are considered sixty-five years old the day before you 65th birthday. This makes all seniors born before January 2, 1947 eligible for this tax deduction in 2011.
Fully and partially blind individuals are eligible for this additional standard tax deduction. An eye doctor's letter stating that the vision is as low as 20/200 in the better eye with corrective lenses is needed for proof of eligibility.
How much will you gain if you are eligible for these extra standard tax deductions?
Married couples get an $1150- additional federal standard deduction for either blindness or being over age 65. The additional deduction can be as high as $4400- if both spouses are over 65 and blind. Even if you're married filing you can claim these deductions for your spouse if you claim an exemption for your spouse.
Singles and Head of Households get $1450- deduction for each incidence of blindness or being over sixty-five years. (Here you can see an example of marriage penalty).
If any of your dependents except for your spouse are over 65 or blind you cannot take this deduction for them.
You can also opt to forgo the federal standard deduction and choose to
itemize your deductions.
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