To Itemize or Not to Itemize... That IS the Question
The tax code is complicated, to say the very least. One thing that is often confusing to folks is using the Standard Deduction versus itemizing on their return. If you take the Standard Deduction, you can’t itemize and vice versa. Most often, you will choose to use the higher of the two.
The Standard Deduction decreases the amount of taxable income on your return by a set amount. It increases a bit each year and depends on your filing status, your age, whether you’re blind, or can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return. If you happen to be 65 or older on the last day of the year, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction. Here are the current amounts for each filing status for 2022 compared to 2021:
2022 (current year)
2021 (last year)
Single or Married Filing Separately
Married Filing Jointly
Head of Household
While the Standard Deduction is a set amount, determining an itemized figure is a bit more complicated. You would use a Schedule A form to add up all of the deductions you’re allowed to claim to see if that amount is higher than the Standard Deduction. Here are some things you can include:
State and local income or sales tax
Real estate and personal property tax
Home mortgage interest
Personal casualty and theft losses from a federally declared disaster
Gifts to a qualified charity
Unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income
Very few taxpayers actually end up itemizing since there are limitations on what can be claimed and how much can be claimed. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017 nearly doubled the amount of the Standard Deduction from prior years making it much less common for taxpayers to itemize. Since then, about 90% of taxpayers find that the Standard Deduction is their best option.
If you had a major medical event last year or maybe you moved from a state without income tax to one that does, or your property taxes were especially high (I know, I know), then you may want to have your tax professional run the numbers to make sure you can’t take advantage of itemizing. There are a few things that would bar you from claiming the Standard Deduction as well. So, be sure you talk to your tax professional about your specific situation to be sure your return is prepared accurately and that you’re not paying more tax than you have to.
If you have any questions or need help with a tax problem, reach out via the chat on my website or schedule an appointment. Go get that return filed!