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Should I itemize or take the standard deduction?


Updated for tax year 2017

Text showing Q&A with TaxAct logo

Tax Analyst Jennifer S.The 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.

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