Site Menu

Itemize Deductions or Take the Standard Deduction?

If the total amount of your itemized deductions is not greater than the standard deduction amount for your filing status, then you should take the standard deduction instead. Otherwise, claim itemized deductions on your tax return.

What Are Itemized Deductions?

Itemized deductions are certain expenses you need to report on Schedule A. These include:

When Should I Itemize Deductions?

You should itemize if the total amount of your itemized deductions is more than your standard deduction amount.

What Are the Itemized Deduction Limits?

Here are the itemized deduction phaseout amounts (or limitations) for the following Tax Years: 

  • Tax Years 2018-2025: There will be income phaseout amounts for total itemized deductions until 2026. 
  • Tax Year 2017: The itemized deduction phaseout amount begins with incomes of $261,500 or more ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly).

How Do I Report Itemized Deductions on My Tax Return?

Enter itemized deduction information on Schedule A. Tax deductions can be complicated, so we will automatically generate this schedule if you qualify for it based on your answers to a couple of easy tax questions. Based on your answers, we will calculate whether the standard deduction would be worth more to you than itemizing deductions. Then, you can choose to automatically select the most valuable deduction option for you or have efile.com pick the standard or itemized deduction for you.

If you want more information on whether to claim itemized deductions or the standard deduction, read on. 

What is the Standard Deduction?

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduces the amount of your taxable income. The standard deduction amounts for any given Tax Year are based on filing status. See the current standard deduction dollar amounts.

When Can I Not Claim the Standard Deduction?

You cannot claim the standard deduction if any of the following situations apply to you: 

  • You claim itemized deductions.
  • If you're married, file your return as Married Filing Separately, and your spouse itemizes.
  • You are a nonresident alien, dual–status alien, or an individual who files tax returns returns for periods of less than 12 months. 

Are There Limits to the Standard Deduction?

Your standard deduction may be limited if you are claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return. 

What Are the Standard Deduction Additional Amounts?

There are additional standard deduction amounts based on the following factors:

  • Age: You can claim the additional standard deduction amount for age if you are age 65 or older on the last day of a Tax Year. For tax purposes, you are generally considered to be 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. This means that you are 65 or older on December 31 of the tax year or January 1 of the following year.
  • Blindness: You can claim the additional standard deduction amount for blindness if you are legally blind on the last day of a Tax Year. Therefore, if you are age 65 and legally blind, you would be entitled to a basic standard deduction and two additional deductions.
  • Disaster loss: If you had a disaster-related casualty loss in a presidential-declared disaster area, you may add an additional amount to your standard deduction.

If you are still not sure which tax deduction to use on your tax return, we at efile.com can make this easier for you. When you prepare your tax return on efile.com, we will select itemized deductions or the standard deduction based on your answers to couple of simple tax questions, then calculate the deduction amount for you. However, if you want more information on whether to claim itemized deductions or the standard deduction. 

Other Tax Deductions to Claim on a Federal Tax Return

Check out more tax deductions you may qualify to claim on your tax return.