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Around this time of year, many taxpayers begin the annual ritual of pondering The Big Question: Do I take the standard deduction or spend time hunting for receipts and filling out extra forms to itemize? The decision largely boils down to whether itemizing will reduce your taxable income more than the flat, no-questions-asked standard deduction will, thus saving you money.
But a major plot twist may make the issue even more vexing for some this tax season: The standard deduction nearly doubled in 2018 to $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household and $24,000 for joint filers.
Couple - Filing - Example - Tax - Deductions
Generally, that means that a married couple filing jointly, for example, would now need to cobble together at least $24,001 in various tax deductions for itemizing to lower their tax bill more than taking the standard deduction would.
It’s a change that’s sure to leave some longtime itemizers wondering whether the standard deduction is actually the thriftier option this year. Here are four things tax pros say could indicate that it’s time to stop itemizing and take the standard deduction.
Tax - Deductions - Mortgage - Interest - Property
The tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes have been boons to itemizers because they often add up to more than the standard deduction, says Andrew McCue, a certified public accountant at Weiss & Company in Glenview, Illinois. But if you didn’t pay much in property taxes, had a small mortgage or were at the tail end of your mortgage (where the payments were mostly toward principal and not much interest), these itemized deductions may not save you as much this year as the standard deduction could.
“If those are adding up to a substantial amount, that’s when you want to look at it and look at the standard deduction,” he says.
Deduction - State - Income - Taxes - Itemizers
The federal deduction for state and local income taxes is popular among itemizers, but...
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