What Is the Standard Deduction?

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The Balance / Maddy Price


The standard deduction is a dollar amount that you can deduct from your taxable income. The amount typically increases each year with inflation, and varies depending on your marital and household status.

How the Standard Deduction Works

When you file taxes, there are two ways to claim deductions, which are dollar amounts that reduce your taxable income. You can choose to itemize deductions, or you can choose the standard deduction. While itemized deductions require multiple calculations across a variety of tax topics, the standard deduction is a set number that doesn’t take much of your personal circumstances into consideration.

There are five standard deductions, based on your filing status and whether you're married:

  • Single
  • Married filing jointly
  • Married filing separately
  • Qualifying widow(er)
  • Head of household (single but with one or more dependents)


All of these statuses have different qualifying rules, standard deductions, tax rates, and credit and deduction eligibility.

An Example of the Standard Deduction

Once you identify your standard deduction, you then can deduct that amount from your taxable income. For example, if you're married and filing jointly with your spouse, you may decide to take your standard deduction of $25,900 in tax year 2022.

If your taxable income for both you and your spouse is $75,900 for the year, then your standard deduction would drop your taxable income to $50,000. Other deductions may be able to lower your taxable income even further.

How Much Is the Standard Deduction?

The standard deduction you qualify for depends on your filing status, your age, and whether you're blind. The IRS offers an interactive tool to figure out how much you're entitled to if you're not sure of your filing status. It takes about 15 minutes to complete. These are the standard deduction amounts for each filing status for tax years 2022 and 2023:

Filing Status 2022 Deductions 2023 Deductions
Single $12,950 $13,850
Head of Household $19,400 $20,800
Married Filing Jointly $25,900 $27,700
Married Filing Separately $12,950 $13,850
Qualifying Widow(er) $25,900 $27,700

Special Adjustments for Standard Deductions

These across-the-board numbers based on filing status can be tweaked somewhat for some taxpayers, and other rules determine who can claim the standard deduction as well.

Standard Deduction Based on Age or Blindness

Taxpayers who are age 65 and older, and individuals who are legally blind receive an additional standard deduction. It's calculated by adding the taxpayer's standard deduction based on their filing status, plus an additional amount.

The additional amount for taxpayers who are 65 or older or blind is $1,750 if single or head of household and $1,400 for married filing jointly in tax year 2022.


You reach age 65 on the day before your 65th birthday, according to IRS rules.

Special Rule for Married Couples

You and your spouse must both take the standard deduction, or you must both itemize your deductions if you're married but filing separate returns. You can't mix and match, with one spouse itemizing and the other taking the standard deduction.

It usually makes sense to figure your taxes both ways, with each spouse itemizing and each spouse taking the standard deduction, to find out which yields the better overall tax savings.

Standard Deduction for Dependents

Taxpayers who can be claimed as dependents on someone else's tax return have variable standard deduction amounts. For the 2022 tax year, their standard deduction is limited to either $1,100 or their earned income plus $350, whichever is more. In either case, the deduction is capped at the amount of the standard deduction for their filing status—it can't be more.

Standard Deductions vs. Itemized Deductions

Many taxpayers have found that the standard deduction amount offers a bigger deduction than all their itemized deductions combined, but it all depends on your filing status and economic factors. If you total up all of your allowed deductions and the total you get is greater than the standard deduction, it would probably be wise to itemize.

Notable Happenings

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act more or less doubled the standard deduction in 2018, and it simultaneously took away and modified some itemized deductions.

These changes will make it more difficult to surpass the amount in deductions you'd need to file an itemized return instead of a standard one. You might want to prepare your return both ways—particularly if you think you have a lot of itemized deductions—to make sure that you're getting the greatest deduction possible. Every dollar counts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the standard deduction for tax year 2021?

The standard deduction is adjusted annually for inflation, and the limits are based on your filing status. For tax year 2022, the standard deduction ranges from $12,950 for single filers to $29,9o0 for married filing jointly. In tax year 2023, the deductions are $13,400 for single filers and $30,700 for married filing jointly.

What's the difference between the standard deduction and itemized deductions?

The standard deduction is a flat amount that you can deduct from your taxable income, based on your filing status, number of dependents, and what year you’re filing the taxes for. Itemized deductions allow you to deduct the dollar amount of various expenses, including things like property taxes and mortgage interest. If your total allowed deductions are greater than the standard deduction, then it would most likely be best to itemize.

Updated by Jess Feldman
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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. IRS. “IRS Provides Tax Inflation Adjustments for Tax Year 2023.”

  2. eFile. "IRS Standard Deductions for 2022 etc."

  3. IRS. "Publication 554: Tax Guide for Seniors," Page 2.

  4. IRS. “Topic No. 501 Should I Itemize?

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