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. You cannot take the standard deduction if you itemize deductions.

Your standard deduction consists of the basic standard deduction and any additional standard deduction for age or blindness.

The basic standard deduction of an individual who can be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return is the greater of:

  1. An amount specified by law, or
  2. The individual's earned income plus a specified amount (but the total cannot be more than the basic standard deduction for his or her filing status)

The additional standard deduction consists of the sum of any additional amounts for age or blindness. The additional amount for age will be allowed 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. For the definition of blindness, refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. The additional amount for blindness will be allowed 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.

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). You may not use Form 1040EZ (PDF) to claim an additional standard deduction.

Certain taxpayers are not entitled to the standard deduction. They are:

  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 (note that residents of India may be able to claim the standard deduction if they meet certain criteria. Refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more information)
  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, or
  4. An estate or trust, common trust fund, or partnership

For more information, refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: February 27, 2014