Each year when it’s time to file your federal income tax return, you must make an important decision: Claim the standard deduction or itemize.
You can’t do both—you have to pick just one.
Fortunately, you can select the option that works best for you. Although most taxpayers choose the standard deduction, it really depends on your own circumstances. For many people, itemizing deductions lowers their taxable income and cuts their tax bill considerably more than the standard deduction. So, it’s wise to consider both the standard deduction and itemized deductions before making your final decision.
But, of course, you can’t make that decision until you know what your standard deduction will be for that particular tax year. The standard deduction amount that applies to you primarily depends on your filing status, but it can also be impacted by your age, whether or not you’re a dependent, and even your vision. There’s a special rule for people impacted by certain natural disasters that can increase your standard deduction, too.
Sound confusing? It’s really not as complicated as it seems. We’ll break it down so you can easily determine your standard deduction amount for the 2023 tax year—and compare it to your 2022 standard deduction. We’ll also help with the standard deduction vs. itemized deductions question. Once you read through the information below, you should be ready to make that call.
Related: Tax Deadlines in 2023
How the Standard Deduction Works
When working on your income taxes, the first thing you need to do is calculate your federal adjusted gross income, or AGI. That figure includes all your taxable income, minus any “above-the-line” tax deductions you’re entitled to claim (i.e., deductions taken from your gross income to arrive at your adjusted gross income).
The next step is to subtract either your standard deduction or itemized deductions from your adjusted gross income to arrive at your taxable income. (Small business owners and certain other people might also be allowed to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income.) Once you know your taxable income, calculate the tax due for that dollar amount. If you can claim any tax credits or made previous tax payments, they are subtracted from the tax due.
The higher your standard deduction (or itemized deductions), the lower your taxable income. The lower your taxable income, the lower your tax bill. And if your standard tax deduction is large enough to bring your taxable income down to a lower tax bracket, the impact can be even greater.
Related: Education Tax Credits and Deductions for 2023
Standard Deduction Amounts
Now that you understand the importance of the standard deduction, let’s take a look at the actual standard deduction amounts for the 2023 tax year. We’ll also provide the 2022 standard deduction amounts for comparison’s sake and for people who haven’t yet filed their 2022 return (e.g., because they got a tax filing extension).
Standard deductions are different from year to year because the IRS adjusts them annually to account for inflation. And with the recent surge in inflation rates, the standard deduction amounts jumped considerably more from 2022 to 2023 than what we’re used to seeing.
YATI Tax Tip: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction from 2018 through 2025. If the higher amount isn’t extended by Congress, the pre-2018 standard deductions will apply once again (as adjusted for inflation) beginning in 2026.
If you’re using a commercial tax software product like TurboTax or H&R Block to file your federal income taxes, the program will automatically include the standard deduction on your return—unless, of course, you itemize your deductions. (If you’re looking for the right tax software for you, check out our review of the best tax software products available.)
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2023 Standard Deductions
For most people, tax returns for the 2023 tax year will be due April 15, 2024. The basic standard deduction, which most people will use for their 2023 return, is based on your filing status, as shown in the table below.
|Filing Status||2023 Standard Deduction|
|Married Filing Jointly||$27,700|
|Married Filing Separately||$13,850|
|Head of Household||$20,800|
|Qualifying Surviving Spouse||$27,700|
Standard deductions for dependents
If you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, your 2023 standard deduction is generally limited to the greater of:
- Your earned income plus $400 (but not more than the applicable basic standard deduction amount)
Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and other compensation for work. It also includes any part of a taxable scholarship or fellowship grant.
Additional standard deductions for age and/or blindness
If you’re at least 65 years old or considered legally blind at the end of 2023, you’re entitled to an additional standard deduction for the 2023 tax year in the following dollar amount:
- $1,500 for married couples filing jointly, married taxpayers filing separately, and surviving spouses
- $1,850 for single and head-of-household filers
For married couples who file jointly, both spouses get an additional standard deduction for being at least 65 years old or blind. If you or your spouse is both 65 or older and blind, then the additional deduction for that person is doubled.
If you’re married but filing a separate return, your spouse is eligible for the additional standard deduction on your return only if he or she has no income, isn’t filing a return, and can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return for the tax year. The additional deduction is also doubled for separate filers for either qualifying spouse who is both 65 or older and blind.
You can use the table below to determine your 2023 standard deduction if you or your spouse will be either 65 or older or blind by the end of 2023.
|Filing Status||65 and/or Blind||2023 Standard Deduction|
|Single||65 or Blind||$15,700|
|65 and Blind||$17,550|
|Married Filing Jointly||One Spouse 65 or Blind||$29,200|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind||$30,700|
|One Spouse 65 or Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$30,700|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$32,200|
|Both Spouses 65 and Blind||$33,700|
|Married Filing Separately||One Spouse 65 or Blind||$15,350|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind||$16,850|
|One Spouse 65 or Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$16,850|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$18,350|
|Both Spouses 65 and Blind||$19,850|
|Head of Household||65 or Blind||$22,650|
|65 and Blind||$24,500|
|Qualifying Surviving Spouse||65 or Blind||$29,200|
|65 and Blind||$30,700|
YATI Tax Tip: If you’re not totally blind (i.e., only partially blind) and claim the additional standard deduction for blindness, the IRS requires a statement from an eye doctor certifying that you (1) can’t see better than 20/200 in the better eye with glasses or contact lenses, or (2) your field of vision is 20 degrees or less. The statement should also note if your vision isn’t likely to improve beyond these limits. 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 use the standard deduction for blindness if you otherwise qualify.
2022 Standard Deductions
If you haven’t filed your 2022 tax return yet, or you just want to compare your next standard deduction to your last one, here are the basic standard deduction amounts for 2022:
|Filing Status||2022 Standard Deduction|
|Married Filing Jointly||$25,900|
|Married Filing Separately||$12,950|
|Head of Household||$19,400|
|Qualifying Surviving Spouse||$25,900|
For dependents, the 2022 standard deduction is limited to the greater of:
- Earned income plus $400 (again, not more than the applicable basic standard deduction amount)
If you were at least 65 years old or blind at the end of 2022, the additional standard deduction for the 2022 tax year is:
- $1,400 for married couples filing jointly, married taxpayers filing separately, and surviving spouses
- $1,750 for single and head-of-household filers
So, for 2022, the additional standard deductions for people who were either 65 or older or blind at the end of last year are as shown in the following table.
|Filing Status||65 and/or Blind||2022 Standard Deduction|
|Single||65 or Blind||$14,700|
|65 and Blind||$16,450|
|Married Filing Jointly||One Spouse 65 or Blind||$27,300|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind||$28,700|
|One Spouse 65 or Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$28,700|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$30,100|
|Both Spouses 65 and Blind||$31,500|
|Married Filing Separately||One Spouse 65 or Blind||$14,350|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind||$15,750|
|One Spouse 65 or Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$15,750|
|One Spouse 65 and Blind; Other Spouse 65 or Blind||$17,150|
|Both Spouses 65 and Blind||$18,550|
|Head of Household||65 or Blind||$21,150|
|65 and Blind||$22,900|
|Qualifying Surviving Spouse||65 or Blind||$27,300|
|65 and Blind||$28,700|
Related: Capital Gains Tax: What Is It, Rates, Home Sales + More
Higher Standard Deduction for Qualified Disaster Loss
You can claim a larger standard deduction if you have a net “qualified disaster loss” for the tax year, which is a casualty or theft loss of personal property stemming from:
- A major disaster declared by the president in 2016
- Hurricane Harvey
- Tropical Storm Harvey
- Hurricane Irma
- Hurricane Maria
- The California wildfires in 2017 and January 2018
- A major disaster declared by the president that occurred in 2018 and before Dec. 21, 2019, and continued no later than January 19, 2020 (except those attributable to the California wildfires in January 2018 that received prior relief)
- A major disaster that was declared by the president between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 25, 2021, with an incident period from Dec. 28, 2019, to Dec. 27, 2020 (not including losses attributable to any major disaster declared only by reason of COVID-19)
Although these natural disasters all happened in previous tax years, you might not be able to increase your standard deduction until well after the disaster if there’s an insurance claim for reimbursement in the year of the loss. That’s because the loss is not deductible until you know with “reasonable certainty” whether you’ll actually be reimbursed for your loss. If you aren’t sure whether the loss (or even part of the loss) will be reimbursed, then wait until the tax year when you become reasonably certain that it won’t be reimbursed to claim the increased standard deduction.
Use Form 4684 to calculate your net qualified disaster loss. However, you don’t report the standard deduction increase with your other standard deduction amounts. Instead, report the loss as “Net Qualified Disaster Loss” on Schedule A (Form 1040). Also report your standard deduction amount as “Standard Deduction Claimed With Qualified Disaster Loss” on Schedule A.
Related: Retirement Saver’s Credit: What Is It, How Much, Who’s Eligible + More
Standard Deduction vs. Itemized Deductions
As we mentioned earlier, when deciding to use the standard deduction or itemize, you can pick whichever one is higher—assuming you’re allowed to take the standard deduction (more on that in a bit).
While wealthier Americans are the ones who typically itemize deductions, ordinary people can also qualify for common itemized deductions that, in total, are greater than their standard deduction. For example, you might want to itemize if you:
- Had large medical expenses that weren’t covered by insurance
- Paid high state and local taxes (up to $10,000)
- Had large uninsured casualty or theft losses
- Made large charitable contributions
- Paid home mortgage interest
The bottom line: If your total itemized deductions exceed your total standard deduction, then you’ll likely want to itemize your deductions.
Your state taxes might also influence your decision. In some states, if you pick the standard deduction for federal income tax purposes, you must also use the state standard deduction on your state income tax return. However, if the overall benefit of itemizing deductions on both returns is greater than the overall benefit of claiming the standard deduction, then you should itemize deductions when filing your federal taxes.
Who Can’t Claim the Standard Deduction?
You can’t take the standard deduction if:
- You’re married but file separately, and your spouse itemizes deductions on his or her return
- You’re filing a tax return for a short tax year because of a change in your annual accounting period
- You’re a nonresident or dual-status alien during the tax year
A nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the tax year can choose to be treated as a U.S. resident and, therefore, claim the standard deduction.
If you’re not permitted to take the standard deduction, you can still claim any itemized deduction for which you qualify.
Related: Earned Income Tax Credit: How Much, Eligibility + More
Other Deductions Available If You Claim the Standard Deduction
If you take the standard deduction, you can’t claim any itemized deduction found on Schedule A. So no itemized deduction for medical expenses, state and local taxes, charitable contributions, home mortgage interest, and the like.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other tax deductions you can take. In fact, our federal income tax system offers a long list of additional write-offs to lower your taxes if you choose the standard deduction over itemized deductions. These are commonly referred to as “above-the-line” deductions, since they are taken above the line for adjusted gross income on the federal 1040 form.
While not an exhaustive list, some of the more common above-the-line deductions are those for:
- Classroom expenses for teachers and other educators
- Health savings account (HSA) contributions
- Health insurance for self-employed people
- IRA contributions (although not for Roth IRAs)
- Student loan interest
- Moving expenses for members of the military
- Alimony paid under a divorce or separation agreement entered into on before 2019
- SEP, SIMPLE, and qualified plan contributions for employees (and for yourself if you’re a sole proprietor)
- Jury duty pay handed over to your employer (e.g., if the employer paid your salary while on jury duty)
Related: How Are Social Security Benefits Taxed?
Prior-Year Standard Deductions
As described earlier, the standard deduction varies from year to year because it’s adjusted annually for inflation—and it jumped considerably more than usual from 2022 to 2023. It also nearly doubled in 2018, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
As a result, if you’re behind on filing your taxes for years before 2022, filing an amended return, or just plain curious, the 2022 and 2023 standard deductions spelled out above aren’t going to be of much use.
So, for anyone looking for prior-year information, the basic and additional standard deductions for 2016 to 2021 are provided below. (Note: Before 2022, the “qualifying surviving spouse” filing status was known as the “qualifying widow(er)” filing status.)
2021 Standard Deductions
|Filing Status||2021 Basic Standard Deduction||2021 Additional Standard Deduction (65 or Blind)|
|Married Filing Jointly||$25,100||$1,350|
|Married Filing Separately||$12,550||$1,350|
|Head of Household||$18,800||$1,700|
2020 Standard Deductions
|Filing Status||2020 Basic Standard Deduction||2020 Additional Standard Deduction (65 or Blind)|
|Married Filing Jointly||$24,800||$1,300|
|Married Filing Separately||$12,400||$1,300|
|Head of Household||$18,650||$1,650|
2019 Standard Deductions
|Filing Status||2019 Basic Standard Deduction||2019 Additional Standard Deduction (65 or Blind)|
|Married Filing Jointly||$24,400||$1,300|
|Married Filing Separately||$12,200||$1,300|
|Head of Household||$18,350||$1,650|
2018 Standard Deductions
|Filing Status||2018 Basic Standard Deduction||2018 Additional Standard Deduction (65 or Blind)|
|Married Filing Jointly||$24,000||$1,300|
|Married Filing Separately||$12,000||$1,300|
|Head of Household||$18,000||$1,600|
2017 Standard Deductions
|Filing Status||2017 Basic Standard Deduction||2017 Additional Standard Deduction (65 or Blind)|
|Married Filing Jointly||$12,700||$1,250|
|Married Filing Separately||$6,350||$1,250|
|Head of Household||$9,350||$1,550|
2016 Standard Deductions
|Filing Status||2016 Basic Standard Deduction||2016 Additional Standard Deduction (65 or Blind)|
|Married Filing Jointly||$12,600||$1,250|
|Married Filing Separately||$6,300||$1,250|
|Head of Household||$9,300||$1,550|