Should I itemize or take the standard deduction?

Updated for tax year 2017

Should I itemize or take the standard deduction? - TaxAct Q&A SeriesThe deduction

In most cases, filers should pick the deduction amount that is the largest as it will lower their taxes owed the most.

Generally, if a filer owns a house and pays mortgage interest and real estate tax, there’s a good chance they have enough deductions to itemize. This means the total of their itemized deductions exceeds the standard deduction dollar amount for their tax situation.

The standard deduction is a fixed dollar amount and varies according to an individual’s filing status. In 2017, the standard deduction is:

  • $6,350 for single or married filing separately
  • $12,700 for married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)
  • $9,350 for head of household

Check out this blog post for more information on why you may want to itemize your deductions.

About Jennifer S.

Jennifer is a tax analyst at TaxAct.

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