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Standard Deductions for 2011 Income Taxes

by on April 2, 2012

By Meghan Stewart

With the start of April, the end of the 2011 income tax filing season is fast coming to a close. If you’re like some Americans—over 14% of Americans say they file their taxes in April—then it’s time to stop procrastinating and start getting ready to get your taxes in by the filing deadline on April 17, 2012.

To help make sure you have everything you need to file correctly and maximize your tax refund, the PowerWallet team has put together a series of blog posts this week about your 2011 federal income tax returns. Find everything you need here to get your taxes right and get them to the IRS on time.

We’re starting today with deductions. If you’re doing standard deductions for your 2011 taxes, here are some numbers that may prove useful:

– Standard 2011 deduction for unmarried taxpayers without any dependents: $5,800

– Standard 2011 deduction married taxpayers filing jointly: $11,600

– Standard 2011 deduction for married taxpayers filing separately: $5,800

– Standard 2011 deduction for head of household taxpayers: $8,500

In addition, there is an additional standard deduction for taxpayers aged 65 and older. If you’re single, the deduction is $1,400. If you’re married and both of you are over 65, you get a standard $1,100 deduction for each of you. These standard deductions also apply for the blind.

For dependents with earned income this year, the minimum deduction is $950 and the maximum is $5,700. This year you determine your dependent’s deduction by adding $300 to their earned income, but the number must be in the range provided. If your dependent earned less money, simply list it as $950. If they earned more, $5,700 is the maximum you can claim as a deduction this year.

Of course, if you’re self-employed or work on contract, you may be looking at doing itemized deductions rather than the standard deduction. Remember to always have record of everything you itemize in case you get audited. Pay attention to your tax forms, as some itemized deductions like gas used for work only uses a percentage of what you spent. Also make sure you’re only claiming things that were actually used for work. Trying to claim your entire shoe shopping budget for 2011 just because you wore a few pairs of those shoes to on-site meetings is over-claiming—which is any easy way to end up with a big problem with the IRS.

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