Standard Deductions vs. Itemized Deductions: Which Deduction Is Better For Tax Returns?

Is the standard deduction better than the itemized deduction?  It depends on an individual’s tax situation.    Money paid for medical care, state income taxes, mortgage interest, and amounts given to charity can be deducted if one chooses to itemized deductions.  In most cases it makes sense to choose the option that provides the greatest amount in deductions.  Therefore, individuals should compare the standard deduction (see below) against the total of their itemized deductions each year.

2014 Standard Deduction Amounts

Filing   Status

Standard   Deduction

Additional   Deduction if 65 or Older

Additional   Deduction If Blind

Single/Married Filing Separate $6,200 $7,750 Add $1,550
Married Filing Jointly $12,400 $13,600 if one spouse is at least 65, $14,800 if both are at   least 65 Add $1,200
Head of Household $9,100 $10,650 Add $1,550

Itemized Deduction Examples:  What Expense Can Be Deducted On A Tax Return?

Below is a list of the most common itemized deductions:

  • Medical Expenses
  • State Income Taxes
  • Real Estate Taxes
  • Vehicle Taxes
  • Home Mortgage Interest
  • Charitable Contributions (Cash and Non-cash)
  • Casualty or Theft Loss (i.e., Fire, Store, Flood Damage)
  • Unreimbursed employee expenses
  • Tax Preparation Fees

Special Rules: Standard Deduction vs. Itemized Deduction

  • When a married couple chooses to file separately, they must both choose the same deduction option – either standard or itemized.
  • Certain individuals are not eligible to use the standard deduction.  Examples include nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.

Simply Taxes, LLC is a local year-round tax preparation firm with an office located in North Raleigh.  Our Raleigh accountants are ready to assist you with your taxes!

Related Articles:

IRS List of Tax Deductible Expenses: Itemized Miscellaneous Deductions

Which Medical Expenses Can Be Deducted On Tax Returns: Tax Deductible Medical Expenses

What’s New for 2014 Tax Returns (Due in April 2015)?

Storm Damage Tax Deductions


IRS Website: Topic 551 – Standard Deduction

IRS Form 1040, Schedule A, Itemized Deductions Instructions

The information contained within this article is for general guidance only. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consulting with professional accounting, tax, legal or other competent advisers. 

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