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Itemize or Take Standard Deduction for Tax Year 2017?

Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction when they file their federal tax return. However, some filers may be able to lower their tax bill by itemizing when they file their 2017 tax return. Before choosing to take the standard deduction or itemize, it’s a good idea to figure deductions using both methods and choose the method with the most benefit. The IRS offers the following tips to help taxpayers decide:

  • Figure Itemized Deductions. Taxpayers who itemize basically add up the year’s deductible expenses to arrive at their total deduction. Deductions include:
    • Home mortgage interest
    • State and local income taxes or sales taxes – but not both
    • Real estate and personal property taxes
    • Gifts to charities
    • Casualty or theft losses
    • Unreimbursed medical and employee business expenses above certain amounts
  • Know the Standard Deduction. For taxpayers who don’t itemize, the standard deduction for 2017 depends on their filing status:
    • Single — $6,350
    • Married Filing Jointly — $12,700
    • Head of Household — $9,350
    • Married Filing Separately — $6,350
    • Qualifying Widow(er) — $12,700

If a taxpayer is 65 or older, or blind, the standard deduction is more, but may be limited if another person claims that taxpayer as a dependent.