March 15, 1989
Increased Itemization on Form 1040
Initial data collected by the Internal Revenue Service suggests
that more filers of Form 1040 are taking the standard deduction this
year than did so in the past.
The most recent information from a study of returns filed
through March 3 shows that 41 percent of Form 1040 filers are
itemizing deductions, compared to almost 49 percent last year at
this point. This data, based on a sample of returns rather than an
actual count, suggests that more people may be taking advantage of
the higher standard deduction and increased personal exemption
amounts this year and ceasing to itemize their deductions.
The standard deduction this year for most people is $3,000 for
those claiming the single filing status, $5,000 for married couples
filing a joint return, and $4,400 for the head of household filing
status. The standard deduction amounts are higher for taxpayers who
are 65 or over or are blind.
The tax package contains charts to help determine the standard
deduction amount taxpayers should use. The IRS notes that entering
the wrong standard deduction amount has been a common error in
returns filed this year and urges everyone to read carefully the
instructions in the tax package.
The personal exemption for 1988 returns is $1,950, an increase
from $1,900 last year.
With 43.3 million individual income tax returns received as of
March 10, total receipts of all three types of individual returns
are up 2.2 percent overall, although receipts of Form 1040 are down
2.5 percent from this time last year. Over 860,000 returns were
filed electronically as of March 9.
As of March 10 the IRS processed a total of over 29 million
returns, up 2.2 percent from last year. Last week alone the IRS
processed over 7 million returns, up 10 percent.
Refunds certified through March 10 are down about 3 percent, at
18.4 million, but the average refund is higher: $827 compared to
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