1997 Tax Help Archives  

Standard Deduction

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduces the amount of income on which you are taxed.

The amount of the basic standard deduction depends on your filing status. If you are single, your basic standard deduction for 1997 is $4,150; head of household - $6,050; married filing jointly or qualifying widow or widower - $6,900; or married filing separately - $3,450.

The standard deduction for an individual who can be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return is the greater of:

  1. $650; or
  2. The individual's earned income (wages, salary) up to the basic standard deduction for his or her filing status.

In some cases, your standard deduction can consist of two parts, the basic standard deduction and additional standard deduction amounts for age or blindness or both. If you are single or head of household, the additional amount is $1,000 for each. If you are married filing jointly, married filing separately, or a qualifying widow or widower, the additional amount is $800 for each. If you file a separate return and can claim an exemption for your spouse, you will be allowed any additional amounts that apply to you or your spouse.

The additional amount for age will be allowed if you are age 65 or older by the last day of the tax year. You are considered to be 65 on the day before your 65th birthday.

The additional amount for blindness will be allowed if you are blind on the last day of the tax year.

For example, a single taxpayer who is age 65 and legally blind would be entitled to a basic standard deduction of $4,150 and an additional standard deduction amount of $2,000, which is $1,000 for being age 65 and $1,000 for being blind. The total standard deduction would be $6,150.

If you or your spouse were 65 or older or blind at the end of the year, be sure to claim the additional standard deduction amounts by checking the appropriate boxes on Form 1040A or Form 1040. The additional standard deduction amounts cannot be claimed on Form 1040EZ.

Certain individuals are not entitled to the standard deduction. They are:

  1. A married individual filing a separate return whose spouse itemizes deductions,
  2. An individual who was a nonresident alien or dual status alien during any part of the year; or
  3. An individual who files a return for a period of less than 12 months due to a change in his or her annual accounting cycle.

For more information, order Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, by calling 1-800-829-3676.

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