Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bye Bye Schedule A Itemizing, Hello Bigger Standard Deduction

Confession:  I didn't file Schedule A a few years ago because it was just so darn hard to do.  And I had paid real estate taxes at the time!  Double shame on me.

The good news this year is that the IRS has actually smoothed the way for people like me, and maybe you.  The Standard Deductions this year are:
$5,450 - single or married filing separately
$10,900 - married filing jointly, or qualifying widower
$8,000 - head of household

AND, if you paid real estate taxes last year, you can enter them into the Standard Deduction Worksheet without having to fill out Schedule A, up to $500 for singles and $1,000 for MFJs.

Example, I am head of household, and paid $1100 in real estate taxes last year, then my new HOH standard deduction is $8,500.

There are other additions to the Standard Deduction that I might want to take, such as being over 65 years of age, being blind, or having a disaster loss.  I live in a hurricane-prone state, we tend to do a lot of that type of entry.

But don't take my word for it, you know where the forms are -- www.irs.gov or your local library.  And you can always go to H&R; Block or Jackson Hewitt to get tax help.