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Publication 554

Chapter 4

Most taxpayers have a choice of taking a standard deduction or itemizing their deductions. You benefit from the standard deduction if your standard deduction is more than the total of your allowable itemized deductions. If you have a choice, you should use the method that gives you the lower tax.

Standard Deduction(p21)

The standard deduction amount depends on your filing status, whether you are 65 or older or blind, and whether an exemption can be claimed for you by another taxpayer. Generally, the standard deduction amounts are adjusted each year for inflation. In most cases, you can use Worksheet 4-1 to figure your standard deduction amount.

Persons not eligible for the standard deduction.(p21)

Your standard deduction is zero and you should itemize any deductions you have if:
If you are a nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, you can choose to be treated as a U.S. resident. See Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. If you make this choice, you can take the standard deduction.

Decedent's final return.(p21)

The amount of the standard deduction for a decedent's final tax return is the same as it would have been had the decedent continued to live. However, if the decedent wasn't 65 or older at the time of death, the higher standard deduction for age can't be claimed. See Death before age 65, later.

Higher standard deduction for age (65 or older).(p21)

If you don't itemize deductions, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction if you are age 65 or older at the end of the year. You are considered age 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. Therefore, you can take a higher standard deduction for 2016 if you were born before January 2, 1952.

Death before age 65.(p21)

If you are preparing a return for someone who died in 2016, consider the taxpayer to be 65 or older at the end of 2016 only if he or she was 65 or older at the time of death. A taxpayer is considered age 65 on the day before his or her birthday.


Your spouse was born on February 14, 1951, and died on February 13, 2016. Your spouse is considered age 65 at the time of death. However, if your spouse died on February 12, 2016, your spouse isn't considered age 65 at the time of death and isn't 65 or older at the end of 2016.

Higher standard deduction for blindness.(p21)

If you are blind on the last day of the year and you don't itemize deductions, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction.

Not totally blind.(p21)

If you aren't totally blind, you must get a certified statement from an eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) that:
If your eye condition isn’t likely to improve beyond these limits, the statement should include this fact. You must keep the statement in your records.
If your vision can be corrected beyond these limits only by contact lenses that you can wear only briefly because of pain, infection, or ulcers, you can take the higher standard deduction for blindness if you otherwise qualify.

Spouse 65 or older or blind.(p21)

You can take the higher standard deduction if your spouse is age 65 or older or blind and:
You can't claim the higher standard deduction for an individual other than yourself and your spouse.


This example illustrates how to determine your standard deduction using Worksheet 4-1.
Bill and Lisa are filing a joint return for 2016. Both are over age 65. Neither is blind, and neither can be claimed as a dependent. They don't itemize deductions, so they use Worksheet 4-1. Because they are married filing jointly, they enter $12,600 on line 1. They check the "No" box on line 2, so they also enter $12,600 on line 4. Because they are both over age 65, they enter $2,500 ($1,250 × 2) on line 5. They enter $15,100 ($12,600 + $2,500) on line 6, so their standard deduction is $15,100.

Standard Deduction for Dependents(p22)

The standard deduction for an individual for whom an exemption can be claimed on another person's tax return generally is limited to the greater of:
However, the standard deduction may be higher if the individual is 65 or older or blind.
If an exemption for you (or your spouse if you are filing jointly) can be claimed on someone else's return, use Worksheet 4-1, if applicable, to determine your standard deduction.taxmap/pubs/p554-011.htm#en_us_publink1000270210
PencilWorksheet 4-1. 2016 Standard Deduction Worksheet
Caution. If you are married filing separately and your spouse itemizes deductions, or if you are a dual-status alien, don't complete this worksheet.
If you were born before January 2, 1952, and/or you were blind at the end of 2016, check the correct box(es) below. Put the total number of boxes checked in box c and go to line 1.
a.You Born before January 2, 1952  box   Blind  box
b.Your spouse, if claiming
spouse's exemption
 Born before January 2, 1952  box   Blind   box
c.Total boxes checkedbox       
1.Enter the amount shown below for your filing status.      
  • Single or married filing separately — $6,300
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) — $12,600
  • Head of household — $9,300
Right brace  1.  
2.Can you (or your spouse if filing jointly) be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return?
box No. Skip line 3; enter the amount from line 1 on line 4.
box Yes. Go to line 3.
3.Is your earned income* more than $700?       
  box Yes. Add $350 to your earned income. Enter the total. Right brace  3.  
  box No. Enter $1,050.
4.Enter the smaller of line 1 or line 3  4.
5.If born before January 2, 1952, or blind, multiply the number in box c by $1,250 ($1,550 if single or head of household). Enter the result here. Otherwise, enter -0-  5.
6.Add lines 4 and 5. This is your standard deduction for 2016 6.
* Earned income includes wages, salaries, tips, professional fees, and other compensation received for personal services you performed. It also includes any taxable scholarship or fellowship grant. Generally, your earned income is the total of the amount(s) you reported on Form 1040, lines 7, 12, and 18, minus the amount, if any, on line 27 (or the amount you reported on Form 1040A, line 7).