Most taxpayers can choose to claim the standard deduction or itemize deductions on their federal income tax returns. But some taxpayers cannot claim the standard deduction and in some cases the amount you can claim as a standard deduction is adjusted.
Who cannot claim the standard deduction?
For married taxpayers filing separately, if one spouse itemizes deductions the other spouse cannot claim the standard deduction and must also itemize. This is to both spouses’ benefit when each one has itemized deductions that are more than the standard deduction for married taxpayers filing separately. In other cases, one spouse may have significant itemized deductions and both spouses can benefit overall even if the other spouse has less itemized deductions than the standard deduction amount.
Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens cannot claim the standard deduction. Also, taxpayers who file returns that cover periods of less than 12 months because they changed their accounting period cannot claim the standard deduction.
Who claims a different amount for the standard deduction?
If you are 65 or older or blind, you can add an additional amount to your standard deduction. You can add $1,100 or $1,400 if you file as single or head of household. For example, if you are married filing jointly and both you and your spouse are over 65, you can add $2,200. If both are over 65 and one of you is blind, you would add $3,300. If you file as single and you are over 65 and blind, you would $2,800.
If you (or your spouse if you are married filing jointly) can be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return and you are filing your own return, your standard deduction is limited to your earned income plus $300 or $950, or the standard deduction amount for your filing status, whichever amount is lower. For example, if you file as single, the standard deduction for 2010 is $5,700. If you had earned income of $4,000, your standard deduction would be limited to $4,300. If you had earned income of $500, your standard deduction would be limited to $950. And if you had earned income of $5,400 or more, your standard deduction would be $5,700.
What amounts can be added to the standard deduction?
For the tax return you file for 2010, you can no longer increase your standard deduction by state or local real estate taxes, taxes on new motor vehicles purchased in 2010, or losses for disasters that occurred in 2010.
But if you had a net loss in 2010 for a federally-declared disaster that occurred in 2008 or 2009, you can add that net loss to your standard deduction for 2010. You can find a list of Declared Disasters by Year and State on the FEMA website. This loss is calculated on Form 4684 – Casualties and Thefts and is carried forward to Schedule L to add to your standard deduction.
If you purchased a new motor vehicle after February 16, 2009 and before January 1, 2010 and you paid the sales or excise taxes in 2010, you can add those taxes to your standard deduction in 2010. This addition is also reported on Schedule L.
Declared Disasters by Year and State – FEMA
Form 4684 – Casualties and Thefts
Increased Standard Deduction – IRS
Schedule L – Standard Deduction for Certain Filers
Six Facts about Choosing the Standard or Itemized Deductions – IRS
Topic 551 – Standard Deduction – IRS