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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(p20)

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 Publication 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 was not 65 or older at the time of death, the higher standard deduction for age cannot be claimed.

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

If you do not 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 2013 if you were born before January 2, 1949.

Higher standard deduction for blindness.(p21)

If you are blind on the last day of the year and you do not itemize deductions, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction. You qualify for this benefit if you are totally or partly blind.

Not totally blind.(p21)

If you are not totally blind, you must get a certified statement from an eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) that:
If your eye condition will never 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 cannot 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 2013. Both are over age 65. Neither is blind, and neither can be claimed as a dependent. They do not itemize deductions, so they use Worksheet 4-1. Because they are married filing jointly, they enter $12,200 on line 1. They check the "No" box on line 2, so they also enter $12,200 on line 4. Because they are both over age 65, they enter $2,400 ($1,200 × 2) on line 5. They enter $14,600 ($12,200 + $2,400) on line 6, so their standard deduction is $14,600.

Standard Deduction for Dependents(p21)

The standard deduction for an individual for whom an exemption can be claimed on another person's tax return is generally 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

Worksheet 4-1. 2013 Standard Deduction Worksheet

Caution. If you are married filing separately and your spouse itemizes deductions, or if you are a dual-status alien, do not complete this worksheet.
If you were born before January 2, 1949, and/or blind, check the correct number of boxes below. Put the total number of boxes checked in box c and go to line 1.
a.You Born before
January 2, 1949  box
  Blind  box
b.Your spouse, if claiming
spouse's exemption
 Born before
January 2, 1949  box
  Blind   box
c.Total boxes checkedbox       
1.Enter the amount shown below for your filing status.      
  • Single or married filing separately — $6,100
  • Married filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er) — $12,200
  • Head of household — $8,950
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 $650?       
  box Yes. Add $350 to your earned income. Enter the total Right brace  3.  
  box No. Enter $1,000
4.Enter the smaller of line 1 or line 3  4.
5.If born before January 2, 1949, or blind, multiply the number in box c by $1,200 ($1,500 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 2013. 6.
* Earned income includes wages, salaries, tips, professional fees, and other compensation received for personal services you performed. It also includes any amount received as a scholarship that you must include in your income. 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).