Taxpayers Can Choose to Take Standard Deduction or Itemize for Tax Year 2017

Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction when they file their federal tax return. However, some filers may be able to lower their tax bill by choosing to  itemize when they file their 2017 tax return. Before making that decision, it’s a good idea to figure deductions using both methods and choose the method with the most benefit. The IRS offers the following tips to help taxpayers decide:

  • Figure Itemized Deductions. Taxpayers who itemize basically add up the year’s deductible expenses to arrive at their total deduction. These deductions include:
    • Home mortgage interest
    • State and local income taxes or sales taxes – but not both
    • Real estate and personal property taxes
    • Gifts to charities
    • Theft or casualty losses
    • Unreimbursed medical and employee business expenses above certain minimum limits
  • Know the Standard Deduction. For taxpayers who don’t itemize, the standard deduction for 2017 depends on their filing status:
    • Single — $6,350
    • Married Filing Jointly — $12,700
    • Head of Household — $9,350
    • Married Filing Separately — $6,350
    • Qualifying Widow(er) — $12,700

If a taxpayer is 65 or older, or blind, the standard deduction is more, but may be limited if another person claims that taxpayer as a dependent.

  • Check the Exceptions. There are some situations where the law doesn’t allow people to claim the standard deduction. This rule applies to married taxpayers who file separate returns, and either spouse itemizes. In this case, the standard deduction is zero and they should itemize any deductions.
  • Use Tools. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant on There are several tools available that can help people determine whether to itemize or take the standard deduction.
  • File the Correct Forms. For taxpayers to itemize their deductions, they must file Form 1040  and  Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Filers can take the standard deduction on Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

More Information:

IRS YouTube Videos:
Interactive Tax Assistant – English | ASL

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