Increase in standard deduction.
The standard deduction for taxpayers who do not itemize deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040 is higher in 2002 than it was in 2001. The amount
depends on your filing status. 2002 Standard Deduction Tables are shown at the end of this chapter.
The amount you can deduct for itemized deductions is limited if your adjusted gross income is more than $137,300 ($68,650 if you are married filing
separately). See chapter 22 for more information.
This chapter discusses:
- How to figure the amount of your standard deduction,
- The standard deduction for dependents, and
- Who should itemize deductions.
Most taxpayers have a choice of either taking a standard deduction or itemizing their deductions. The standard deduction is a dollar amount that
reduces the amount of income on which you are taxed.
The standard deduction is a benefit that eliminates the need for many taxpayers to itemize actual deductions, such as medical expenses, charitable
contributions, and taxes, on Schedule A of Form 1040. The standard deduction is higher for taxpayers who are 65 or older or blind. If you have a
choice, you should use the method that gives you the lower tax.
You benefit from the standard deduction if your standard deduction is more than the total of your allowable itemized deductions.
Persons not eligible for the standard deduction.
Your standard deduction is zero and you should itemize any deductions you have if:
- You are married and filing a separate return, and your spouse itemizes deductions,
- You are filing a tax return for a short tax year because of a change in your annual accounting period, or
- You are a nonresident or dual-status alien during the year. You are considered a dual-status alien if you were both a nonresident and
resident alien during the year.
Note. If you are a nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident at the end of the year, you can choose to be treated
as a U.S. resident. (See Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.) If you make this choice, you can take the standard deduction.
If an exemption for you can be claimed on another person's return (such as your parents' return), your standard deduction may be limited. See
Standard Deduction for Dependents, later.
Standard Deduction Amount
The standard deduction amount depends on your filing status, whether you are 65 or older or blind, and whether an exemption can be claimed for you
by another taxpayer. Generally, the standard deduction amounts are adjusted each year for inflation. The standard deduction amounts for most taxpayers
for 2002 are shown in Table 21-1.
Decedent's final return.
The amount of the standard deduction for a decedent's final return is the same as it would have been had the decedent continued to live. However,
if the decedent was not 65 or older at the time of death, the higher standard deduction for age cannot be claimed.
Higher Standard Deduction for Age (65 or Older)
If you do not itemize deductions, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction if you are age 65 or older at the end of the year. You are
considered 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. Therefore, you can take a higher standard deduction for 2002 if your 65th birthday was on or
before January 1, 2003.
Use Table 21-2 to figure the standard deduction amount.
Higher Standard Deduction for Blindness
If you are blind on the last day of the year and you do not itemize deductions, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction as shown in
Table 21-2. You qualify for this benefit if you are totally or partly blind.
If you are partly blind, you must get a certified statement from an eye doctor or registered optometrist that:
- You cannot see better than 20/200 in the better eye with glasses or contact lenses, or
- Your field of vision is not more than 20 degrees.
If your eye condition will never improve beyond these limits, the statement should include this fact. You must keep the statement in your records.
If your vision can be corrected beyond these limits only by contact lenses that you can wear only briefly because of pain, infection, or ulcers,
you can take the higher standard deduction for blindness if you otherwise qualify.
Spouse 65 or Older or Blind
You can take the higher standard deduction if your spouse is age 65 or older or blind and:
- You file a joint return, or
- You file a separate return and can claim an exemption for your spouse because your spouse had no gross income and an exemption for your
spouse could not be claimed by another taxpayer.
You cannot claim the higher standard deduction for an individual other than yourself and your spouse.
The following examples illustrate how to determine your standard deduction using Tables 21-1 and 21-2.
Larry, 46, and Donna, 33, are filing a joint return for 2002. Neither is blind. They decide not to itemize their deductions. They use Table
21-1. Their standard deduction is $7,850.
Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that Larry is blind at the end of 2002. Larry and Donna use Table 21-2. Their
standard deduction is $8,750.
Bill and Terry are filing a joint return for 2002. Both are over age 65. Neither is blind. If they do not itemize deductions, they use Table
21-2. Their standard deduction is $9,650.
Standard Deduction for Dependents
The standard deduction for an individual for whom an exemption can be claimed on another person's tax return is generally limited to the greater
- $750, or
- The individual's earned income for the year plus $250 (but not more than the regular standard deduction amount, generally $4,700).
However, if the individual is 65 or older or blind, the standard deduction may be higher.
If an exemption for you (or your spouse if you are filing jointly) can be claimed on someone else's return, use Table 21-3 to
determine your standard deduction.
Earned income defined.
Earned income is salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and other amounts received as pay for work you actually perform.
For purposes of the standard deduction, earned income also includes any part of a scholarship or fellowship grant that you must include
in your gross income. See Scholarship and Fellowship Grants in chapter 13 for more information on what qualifies as a scholarship or
Michael is single. His parents claim an exemption for him on their 2002 tax return. He has interest income of $780 and wages of $150. He has no
itemized deductions. Michael uses Table 21-3 to find his standard deduction. He enters $150 (his earned income) on line 1, $400 ($150
plus $250) on line 3, $750 (the larger of $400 and $750) on line 5, and $4,700 on line 6. The amount of his standard deduction, on line 7a, is $750
(the smaller of $750 and $4,700).
Joe, a 22-year-old full-time college student, is claimed on his parents' 2002 tax return. Joe is married and files a separate return. His wife does
not itemize deductions on her separate return.
Joe has $1,500 in interest income and wages of $3,800. He has no itemized deductions. Joe finds his standard deduction by using Table
21-3. He enters his earned income, $3,800, on line 1. He adds lines 1 and 2 and enters $4,050 on line 3. On line 5 he enters $4,050, the
larger of lines 3 and 4. Since Joe is married filing a separate return, he enters $3,925 on line 6. On line 7a he enters $3,925 as his standard
deduction because it is smaller than $4,050, the amount on line 5.
Amy, who is single, is claimed on her parents' 2002 tax return. She is 18 years old and blind. She has interest income of $1,300 and wages of
$2,900. She has no itemized deductions. Amy uses Table 21-3 to find her standard deduction. She enters her wages of $2,900 on line 1.
She adds lines 1 and 2 and enters $3,150 on line 3. On line 5 she enters $3,150, the larger of lines 3 and 4. Since she is single, Amy enters $4,700
on line 6. She enters $3,150 on line 7a. This is the smaller of the amounts on lines 5 and 6. Because she checked one box in the top part of the
worksheet, she enters $1,150 on line 7b. She then adds the amounts on lines 7a and 7b and enters her standard deduction of $4,300 on line 7c.
Who Should Itemize
You should itemize deductions if your total deductions are more than the standard deduction amount. Also, you should itemize if you do not qualify
for the standard deduction, as discussed earlier under Persons not eligible for the standard deduction.
You should first figure your itemized deductions and compare that amount to your standard deduction to make sure you are using the method that
gives you the greater benefit.
You may be subject to a limit on some of your itemized deductions if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than $137,300 ($68,650 if you are
married filing separately). See chapter 22 and the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040), line 28, for more information on figuring the correct
amount of your itemized deductions.
When to itemize.
You may benefit from itemizing your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040) if you:
- Do not qualify for the standard deduction, or the amount you can claim is limited,
- Had large uninsured medical and dental expenses during the year,
- Paid interest and taxes on your home,
- Had large unreimbursed employee business expenses or other miscellaneous deductions,
- Had large uninsured casualty or theft losses,
- Made large contributions to qualified charities, or
- Have total itemized deductions that are more than the standard deduction to which you otherwise are entitled.
These deductions are explained in chapters 23-30.
If you decide to itemize your deductions, complete Schedule A and attach it to your Form 1040. Enter the amount from Schedule A, line 28, on Form
1040, line 38.
Itemizing for state tax or other purposes.
If you choose to itemize even though your itemized deductions are less than the amount of your standard deduction, write IE (itemized
elected) next to line 38 (Form 1040).
Tables 21-1,2,3. Standard Deduction Charts and WorksheetStandard deduction: Tables
Changing your mind.
If you do not itemize your deductions and later find that you should have itemized - or if you itemize your deductions and later find you
should not have - you can change your return by filing Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. See Amended
Returns and Claims for Refund in chapter 1 for more information on amended returns.
Married persons who filed separate returns.
You can change methods of taking deductions only if you and your spouse both make the same changes. Both of you must file a consent to assessment
for any additional tax either one may owe as a result of the change.
You and your spouse can use the method that gives you the lower total tax, even though one of you may pay more tax than you would have paid by
using the other method. You both must use the same method of claiming deductions. If one itemizes deductions, the other should itemize because he or
she will not qualify for the standard deduction. (See Persons not eligible for the standard deduction, earlier.)