The IRS allows certain deductions from your income before you need to compute your tax liability. Depending upon your filing status and your personal circumstances over the past year, you need to determine if you are going to itemize your deductions or take what the IRS defines as the “standard deduction.” This standard deduction is a dollar amount that non-itemizers may subtract from their income based upon their filing status: single ($6,300), married filing jointly ($12,600), married filing separately ($6,300), head of household ($9,250), and qualifying surviving spouse ($12,600). Taxpayers who are at least 65 or who are blind may increase their standard deduction by $1,250 if they are married and $1,550 if they are single or a head of a household. The IRS provides an online tool to help you compute your standard deduction.
Taxpayers opting for the standard deduction, however, do have additional considerations available to them for reducing their tax bill that are known as “above-the-line” deductions. The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers the following information about these deductions.