Itemized deductions are certain personal expenses that you can deduct to lower your
taxes. For 1996, the categories of itemized deductions are:
medical and dental expenses;
state and local taxes;
home mortgage and investment interest;
casualty and theft losses;
job expenses; and
Generally, you must decide whether to itemize or to use the standard deduction. It is
usually to your benefit to itemize if your allowable deductions are more than your
standard deduction. Some taxpayers should itemize because they do not qualify for the
standard deduction. The standard deduction varies according to your filing status, age,
whether you are blind, and whether you can be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer's
return. The basic standard deductions for 1996 are as follows:
Single - $4,000
Head of Household - $5,900
Married, filing a joint return - $6,700
Married, filing a separate return - $3,350
Qualifying Widow or Widower with dependent child - $6,700
An additional amount will be allowed if you or your spouse is age 65 or older by
January 1, 1997, or blind.
If you can be claimed as a dependent on another person's return, your standard
deduction may be limited. For further information on the additional standard deduction for
the blind or elderly, and the limit for dependents, select Topic 551.
When a married couple files separate returns and one spouse can and does itemize
deductions, the other spouse may not claim the standard deduction and must also itemize.
Some taxpayers are not eligible for the standard deduction. They include nonresident
aliens, dual-status aliens, and individuals who file returns for periods of less than 12
months. Special rules apply to U.S. citizens with excludable income from U.S. possessions.
You may be subject to a limit on some of your itemized deductions. For 1996, this limit
applies if your adjusted gross income is more than $117,950, or $58,975 if you are married
filing separately. This limit applies to all your itemized deductions except medical and
dental expenses, casualty and theft losses, gambling losses, and investment interest.
For more information on itemized deductions, see your Form 1040 instructions or refer
to Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.
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