Topic 551 - Standard Deduction

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduces the amount of income on which you are taxed. In general, the standard deduction is adjusted each year for inflation and varies according to your filing status, whether you are 65 or older and/or blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim you as a dependent. The standard deduction is not available to certain taxpayers. You cannot take the standard deduction if you itemize your deductions. Refer to Topic 501, Should I Itemize? and How Much Is My Standard Deduction? on IRS.gov for more information.

Your standard deduction consists of the sum of the basic standard deduction and any additional standard deductions for age and/or blindness. You are allowed an additional deduction if you are age 65 or older at the end of the tax year. You are considered to be 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. You are allowed an additional deduction for blindness if you are blind on the last day of the tax year. For example, a single taxpayer who is age 65 and blind would be entitled to a basic standard deduction and an additional standard deduction equal to the sum of the additional amounts for both age and blindness. For the definition of blindness, refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

If you or your spouse were age 65 or older or blind at the end of the year, be sure to claim an additional standard deduction by checking the appropriate boxes for age or blindness on Form 1040A (PDF) or Form 1040 (PDF), U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You may not use Form 1040EZ (PDF), Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents, to claim an additional standard deduction.

If you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, your standard deduction for 2014 is limited to the greater of: (1) $1,000, or (2) your earned income plus $350 (but the total cannot be more than the basic standard deduction for your filing status).

Certain taxpayers are not entitled to the standard deduction:

  1. A married individual filing as married filing separately whose spouse itemizes deductions
  2. An individual who was a nonresident alien or dual status alien during any part of the year (see below for certain exceptions)
  3. An individual who files a return for a period of less than 12 months due to a change in his or her annual accounting period
  4. An estate or trust, common trust fund, or partnership

Note however, certain individuals who were nonresident aliens or dual status aliens during any part of the year may nevertheless take the standard deduction in the following cases:

  • (i) A nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the tax year and makes a joint election with his or her spouse to be treated as a U.S. resident for the entire tax year;
  • (ii) A nonresident alien at the beginning of the tax year who is a U.S. citizen or resident by the end of the tax year, is married to a U.S. citizen or resident at the end of such tax year, and makes a joint election with his or her spouse to be treated as a U.S. resident for the entire tax year; and
  • (iii) Certain residents of India covered by paragraph 2 of Article 21 (Payments Received by Students and Apprentices) of the United States-India Income Tax Treaty.

Refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more information.

For more information, refer to Publication 501 and Code Section 63(c).

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: January 16, 2015