Individual taxpayers in the United States are faced with a choice when preparing their tax returns. Starting with their AGI (adjusted gross income), they can itemize their deductions (from a list of allowable items) and subtract the total from their AGI (and any applicable personal exemptions) to arrive at their taxable income. Alternately, they can elect to subtract the standard deduction for their filing status (and any applicable personal exemptions) to arrive at their taxable income.
The applicable standard deduction amounts for tax year 2002 are:
|Filing status||Standard deduction|
|Married filing joint||7850|
|Married filing separate||3925|
|Head of household||6900|
The standard deduction is increased if any of the following conditions are met:
- The taxpayer is age 65 or older
- The taxpayer's spouse is age 65 or older
- The taxpayer is legally blind
- The taxpayer's spouse is legally blind
For example, a 70-year old single filer's standard deduction would be $5850. A 40-year old blind single filer's standard deduction would also be $5850. A married couple, ages 78 and 80, where the taxpayer is blind would have a standard deduction of $10,550.