Before you e-file your federal taxes this year, you may want to take a moment to get to know the standard deduction a little better. A standard deduction is a dollar amount, based on filing status, which reduces income on which you are taxed, with additions for age or blindness. This differs from itemized tax deductions, which are expenses that taxpayers are allowed to claim to decrease their taxable income.
The standard deduction amounts for 2010 are as follows-
Single or Married Filing Separate $5,700
Married Filing Joint or Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child $11,400
Head of Household $8,400
In some cases, you can claim additions to your standard deduction for 2010. The additions are claimed on Schedule L and add to the basic standard deduction and any increased standard deduction for being 65 or older, or blind or both. Additions to your standard deduction include:
• A loss from a federally declared disaster in tax years beginning after 2007 and that occurred before 2010 or,
• Paid state or local sales or excise taxes (or certain other taxes or fees in a state without a sales tax) in 2010 for the purchase of any new motor vehicle(s) after February 16, 2009, and before 2010.
Some taxpayers are not eligible to use the standard deduction. If you are married filing separately and your spouse itemizes, then you must do the same. An individual who is a nonresident alien or dual-status alien during any part of the year cannot claim a standard deduction. You also will not be eligible to use the standard deduction if a change in your annual accounting period causes you to file for a period of less than 12 months.