IRS Logo
Print - Click this link to Print this page

Standard Versus Itemized Deductions (ASL) - YouTube video text script

Hi, I’m Thomas and I work for the IRS.
Are you trying to figure out if you should itemize or take the standard deduction?
You know, it can make a difference in how much you pay in taxes or in how big your refund will be.
If you file electronically, the tax preparation software will figure this out for you.
But, if you use our fillable forms to e-file or if you file a paper tax return, you'll need to add up how much you spent on things such as mortgage interest, medical care and charitable contributions.
The instructions for Schedule A list all the expenses that qualify.
Then, you’ll need to compare that amount with the standard deduction for your filing status such as single or married filing jointly.
You can find details in the Form 1040 instructions.
Whichever amount is bigger, either the standard deduction or the itemized deduction amount, that’s the one that’ll give you the biggest tax benefit.     
You can download any of these forms and their instructions at our web site.
Or better yet, why not e-file and use tax preparation software?
That way, all the calculations are done for you.
Most of you can use tax preparation software for free by using IRS Free File.
Just go to and click the link on our homepage.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 26-Jan-2017