Q:

How does the standard deduction for single and married persons differ?

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Quick Answer

For the 2014 income tax year, the married couple's standard tax deduction is $12,400, twice that of a single person's standard deduction of $6,200, states the Internal Revenue Service. However, a single person who is the head of a household can claim a higher deduction of $9,100.

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Full Answer

Standard deductions also vary for individuals who are 65 or older, blind or both, according to the IRS. A single filer who is age 65 or older gains an additional $1,550 on the standard deduction. A blind person also receives a $1,550 increase. One who is both over 65 and blind receives an increase of $3,100, raising the total standard deduction to $9,300.

Some taxpayers do not qualify for the standard deduction, TurboTax reports. Married couples who file separate returns cannot take the standard deduction if the other spouse itemizes deductions. Also, taxpayers cannot claim the deduction if they or their spouse were non-resident aliens at any time during the tax year. Lastly, a filer who changes his accounting period and files a return for less than the full 12-month tax period is also ineligible, states the IRS.

Single or married, it is a good idea to compare using the standard deduction method to itemizing expenses, reports TurboTax. Itemizing can save money for a taxpayer who pays mortgage interest and property taxes, makes large charitable contributions, has high unreimbursed medical or job expenses, or suffered uninsured loss from theft, fire or natural disaster.

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