Tax Breaks

What's the Standard Deduction for 2021 vs. 2022?

If you're like most Americans, taking the standard deduction on your tax return is better than claiming itemized deductions.

You have a choice between taking the standard deduction or claiming itemized deductions each year when filling out your federal income tax return. And, of course, you always want to pick whichever one helps you the most. For about 90% of all taxpayers, claiming the standard deduction is the way to go.

So how much is the standard deduction worth? It depends on your filing status, whether you're 65 or older and/or blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim you as a dependent on their tax return. It's also adjusted annually for inflation, so the 2021 standard deduction is larger than it was for 2020, and the 2022 amount is higher than the 2021 amount.

There are also some special rules and advantages that apply if you're claiming the standard deduction. For instance, people claiming the standard deduction can also deduction up to $300 of cash donations to charity on their 2021 tax return (up to $600 for married couples). Itemizers can't take this deduction. In addition, if you have a net qualified disaster loss, your standard deduction may be higher (see below). On the other hand, if you're married but filing separate tax returns, you can't take the standard deduction if your spouse itemizes deductions. You can't claim it if you're a dual-status alien, either.

2021 Standard Deduction Amounts

For the 2021 tax year, the standard deduction amounts are as follows:

Filing Status

2021 Standard Deduction

Single; Married Filing Separately

$12,550

Married Filing Jointly

$25,100

Head of Household

$18,800

Taxpayers who are at least 65 years old or blind can claim an additional 2021 standard deduction of $1,350 ($1,700 if using the single or head of household filing status). For anyone who is both 65 and blind, the additional deduction amount is doubled. Note that you're considered to reach age 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. Also, if you weren't totally blind as of the end of the tax year and want to claim the additional standard deduction, you must get a statement from your eye doctor certifying that:

  • You can't see better than 20/200 in your better eye with glasses or contact lenses; or
  • Your field of vision is 20 degrees or less.

If your eye condition isn't likely to improve beyond these conditions, you can get a statement certified by your eye doctor to this effect instead. (Keep any statements for your records.)

If you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, your standard deduction for 2021 is limited to the greater of $1,100 or your earned income plus $350 (but the total can't be more than the basic standard deduction for your filing status).

Returns for the 2021 tax year are generally due on April 18, 2022 (April 19 for residents of Maine and Massachusetts).

2022 Standard Deduction Amounts

Smart taxpayers are always looking ahead and planning for their next tax return. So, if you're already thinking about the 2022 tax return that you'll file next year, the 2022 standard deduction information is below.

Filing Status

2022 Standard Deduction

Single; Married Filing Separately

$12,950

Married Filing Jointly; Surviving Spouse

$25,900

Head of Household

$19,400

If you're at least 65 years old or blind, you can claim an additional standard deduction of $1,400 in 2022 ($1,750 if you're claiming the single or head of household filing status). As with the 2021 standard deduction, the additional deduction amount is doubled if you're both 65 or older and blind.

If you can be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return, your 2022 standard deduction is limited to the greater of $1,150 or your earned income plus $400 (again, the total can't be more than the basic standard deduction for your filing status).

Increased Standard Deduction for Certain Disaster Losses

If you have a net "qualified disaster loss," you can claim a larger standard deduction. A qualified disaster loss is a casualty or theft loss of personal-use property that is attributable to:

  • A major disaster declared by the President in 2016;
  • Hurricane Harvey;
  • Tropical Storm Harvey;
  • Hurricane Irma;
  • Hurricane Maria;
  • California wildfires in 2017 and January 2018;
  • A major disaster declared by the President between January 1, 2018, and February 18, 2020, if the loss occurred before January 19, 2020; or
  • A major disaster declared by the President before February 26, 2021, if the loss occurred between December 28, 2019, and December 27, 2020, and continued no later than January 26, 2021 (not including losses attributable to a major disaster declared only by reason of COVID-19).

You need to complete IRS Form 4684 to see if you have a net qualified disaster loss. If so, enter the amount from Line 15 of Form 4684 on the dotted line next to Line 16 of Schedule A (Form 1040). Also write "Net Qualified Disaster Loss," your standard deduction amount, and "Standard Deduction Claimed With Qualified Disaster Loss" on the dotted line (don't worry – it's a long line). Add the two amounts and enter the total on Line 16 of Schedule A and Line 12 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR. Don't enter an amount on any other line of Schedule A.

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