What Is the Standard Deduction?

by Team eLocal
A woman sits at her dining room table with laptop and financial reports doing her monthly budget. She is writing down budgets as she works on her computer to do monthly finances, pay taxes and save money for the future.

Finding all the ways to save money on your taxes can be tedious and miserable. Luckily for many people, claiming the standard deduction is a simple way to save time.

So, what is the standard deduction — and should you take it?

What Is the Standard Deduction?

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that U.S. taxpayers may deduct from their income before calculating their income tax. The standard deduction is available when calculating federal income tax. Some states also have standard deductions.

The standard deduction is available to most taxpayers. However, there are some scenarios where it can't be claimed. People who are non-resident aliens and taxpayers with a spouse who itemizes deductions cannot claim the standard deduction.

What Does It Mean to Take the Standard Deduction?

Deductions reduce the amount of income for which you must pay taxes. Claiming the standard deduction is a simple way to reduce your tax bill and may even eliminate taxes owed on the portion of your income that falls in a higher tax bracket.

Is the Standard Deduction the Same for Everyone?

The standard deduction is the same for all people within certain categories. The deduction amount can vary each year. The standard deductions for 2022 are:

  • $12,950 for single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately
  • $25,900 for married couples
  • $19,400 for heads of household

Blind taxpayers and older adults can sometimes claim an additional standard deduction amount.

What Are the Other Options?

People can claim itemized deductions if they don't take the standard deduction. Itemized deductions let you deduct amounts you paid for things like:

  • State and local income tax
  • Property tax
  • Mortgage interest
  • Charity
  • Medical expenses

If the total amount of itemized deductions is more than the standard deduction, you'll save more money by claiming itemized deductions. When filing a return, you can select the standard deduction or itemized deductions by filing a Schedule A with your Form 1040.

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