What is the 2008 Standard DeductionAuthor: Roni Deutch
What is the standard deduction?:About the Author:
The standard deduction is a tax extractable dollar amount available to all U.S. citizens who do not itemize their tax returns. The exact amount of an individual’s standard deduction is usually based on their filing status, age, and living situation, and increases every year for each. The standard deductions for the 2008 tax year are as follows:
Single - $5,450
Married Filing Jointly - $10,900
Married Filing Separately - $5,450
Head of Household - $8,000
Qualifying Widow(er) - $10,900
If a qualifying individual is blind or 65 years or older, their standard deduction amount will increase. However, this gets into a trickier area as the specific amounts are not available on the IRS’ website. To find out if you qualify, and what the exact amount is, you should probably call the IRS or have a tax professional find out on your behalf.
Additionally, if an individual can be claimed as a dependent on another persons return, their deduction can be reduced. According to the IRS, for 2008, the standard deduction for a taxpayer who can be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer's return was:
• earned income (wages, salaries, tips, etc.) plus $300
• but not less than $850
• and not more than the standard deduction for the single filing status ($5,450)
According the IRS publication 501, the individuals who cannot take the standard deduction are as follows:
1. A married individual filing a separate return whose spouse itemizes deductions.
2. An individual who was a nonresident alien or dual status alien during any part of the year (note that residents of India may be able to claim the standard deduction if they meet certain criteria (refer to Publication 519).
3. An individual who files a return for a period of less than 12 months due to a change in his or her annual accounting period.
4. An estate or trust, common trust fund, or partnership.
Who should use the standard deduction?:
Normally, you will want to check whether itemizing or taking the standard deduction is the right choice by comparing the amount your total tax liability in either situation. For example, if you are a single taxpayer and total your itemized deductions came to $3,200, then you would be much better off taking the standard deduction of $5,450. On the other hand, if the same single taxpayer totaled their itemized deductions to find they come to over the standard deduction of $5,450, they would want to stick with itemizing.
To check for your self, you will want to first gather all of your tax information and a Schedule A form. Complete the form, then compare the standard deduction and itemized deductions to see which benefits you more. If you are hesitant to do it yourself, you can bring your tax documents in to a tax professional and have them tell you which option is the best choice for you.
If you do find itemizing your deductions best suits your situation, be sure to follow the rules when doing your itemizing, and check with a professional to assure the numbers are crunched correctly. For any additional information on the standard deduction, check out the IRS' website, IRS.gov.
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