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Encyclopedia > Standard deduction

Individual taxpayers in the United States are faced with a choice when preparing their tax returns. Starting with their AGI (adjusted gross income), they can itemize their deductions (from a list of allowable items) and subtract the total from their AGI (and any applicable personal exemptions) to arrive at their taxable income. Alternately, they can elect to subtract the standard deduction for their filing status (and any applicable personal exemptions) to arrive at their taxable income.

The applicable standard deduction amounts for tax year 2002 are:

Standard Deductions, tax year 2002
Filing status Standard deduction
Single 4700
Married filing joint 7850
Married filing separate 3925
Head of household 6900
Qualifying widow(er) 7850

The standard deduction is increased if any of the following conditions are met:

  • The taxpayer is age 65 or older
  • The taxpayer's spouse is age 65 or older
  • The taxpayer is legally blind
  • The taxpayer's spouse is legally blind

For each applicable condition, add $900 (if the filing status is married filing joint, married filing separate, or qualifying widow(er)) or $1150 (if the filing status is single or head of household) to the standard deduction specified above.

For example, a 70-year old single filer's standard deduction would be $5850. A 40-year old blind single filer's standard deduction would also be $5850. A married couple, ages 78 and 80, where the taxpayer is blind would have a standard deduction of $10,550.

  Results from FactBites:
Tax Basics, Ch. 3: The standard deduction amount (388 words)
Married couples that file joint returns are given the biggest standard deduction, while couples opting to file separately get the smallest.
And the standard deduction is increased a bit for blind and elderly taxpayers.
The standard deduction's biggest attraction: A taxpayer doesn't have to keep track of each possible tax-deductible expense throughout the year.
Realty Times - Agent News and Advice (685 words)
The normal standard deduction amounts are $4,750 for an individual with the filing status of single and $7,000 for a head of household.
An often-missed break: The $9,500 deduction is also available to someone qualifying as a "surviving spouse" – IRS lingo for a widow or widower who has a dependent child and is entitled to use joint-return rates for two years after the death of a spouse in 2001 or 2002.
Some examples: The deduction rises from $4,750 to $5,900 for a single person who is age 65 or older, and from $4,750 to $7,050 for a single person who is at least 65 and blind.
  More results at FactBites »



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