What Is The Standard Deduction? Updated For 2024

Navigating the complexities of tax filing can often seem daunting, especially when it comes to understanding deductions. One critical aspect of the tax filing process is the decision between itemizing deductions and opting for the standard deduction. 

What Is The Standard Deduction?

The standard deduction is a fixed amount that taxpayers can subtract from their income before income tax is applied, varying based on their filing status. It simplifies tax preparation by eliminating the need to itemize individual deductions.

The standard deduction, a pivotal component of the U.S. tax system, offers a straightforward approach to reducing taxable income, simplifying the filing process for millions of taxpayers. Join me as we look into the intricacies of the standard deduction, exploring its definition, benefits, and the factors that influence its amount each year.

Here is the table showing the standard deduction amounts for different filing statuses in 2024:

Filing StatusStandard Deduction Amount ($)
Married Filing Jointly$29,200
Married Filing Separately$14,600
Head of Household$21,900
Standard Deduction 2024

I also put together a side-by-side comparison of the 2024 and 2023 standard deduction that can be found here.

The Standard Deduction Explained

The standard deduction is a specific dollar amount that reduces the amount of income on which you are taxed. It varies according to your filing status (such as single, married filing jointly, or head of household). 

The standard deduction is available to all taxpayers who do not choose to itemize their deductions. The purpose of the standard deduction is to ensure that only households with income above certain thresholds will owe any income tax. 

The amount of the standard deduction is adjusted each year for inflation and according to policy changes. It simplifies the tax preparation process for many taxpayers because it requires less detailed accounting and substantiation than itemizing deductions.

Learn more about itemized deductions here.

What Is The Standard Deduction For Over 65?

In 2024, if you are at least 65 years old or blind, you can claim an additional standard deduction amount. For single taxpayers or those filing as head of household, the additional standard deduction is $1,950, for a total of $16,550. 

If you are married, and either you or your spouse is 65 or older, you can add $1,550 to your standard deduction. This amount increases to $1,950 if you are unmarried or a surviving spouse who is 65 or older.

Factors That Affect The Standard Deduction

There are a few other factors that can affect the standard deduction amount:


As mentioned earlier, similar to the additional amount for taxpayers over the age of 65, taxpayers who are legally blind can claim an additional standard deduction on top of the base amount.


Taxpayers who can be claimed as dependents on someone else’s tax return typically have a limited standard deduction. The exact amount can vary depending on their income and the standard deduction amount for their filing status.

Disaster Losses

If you have suffered a federally declared disaster loss, you may be eligible to increase your standard deduction by the net amount of your disaster loss without the need to itemize deductions.

Recent Changes in Tax Law

Tax legislation can also affect the standard deduction amounts. For instance, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 significantly increased the standard deduction amounts from 2018 through 2025.

Inflation Adjustments

The IRS adjusts the amount of the standard deduction each year for inflation.

How Is Standard Deduction Calculated?

The standard deduction is a fixed amount set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that reduces the income on which you are taxed. It is not calculated by the taxpayer; rather, it’s provided by the IRS and adjusted each year for inflation. 

Here’s how it works:

Determine Filing Status: The IRS provides different standard deduction amounts based on your filing status, such as single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, or head of household.

Age and Blindness Adjustments: If you are 65 or older or you are blind, you may be eligible for a higher standard deduction.

Dependent Status: If you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, your standard deduction may be limited.

Inflation Adjustments: The IRS adjusts the standard deduction amounts each year to keep pace with inflation. This annual adjustment helps prevent “bracket creep,” where people are pushed into higher income tax brackets or have a reduced value from exemptions and deductions due to inflation.

Special Situations: In certain circumstances, such as if you have significant disaster losses from a federally declared disaster area, you may be able to increase your standard deduction.

For most taxpayers, the process involves simply choosing the standard deduction amount that matches their filing status and age/blindness situation. 

The IRS publishes these amounts each year in the instructions for Form 1040, on their website, and through various publications. 

Tax preparation software, like TurboTax, will automatically select the correct standard deduction for you based on the information you enter about your filing status and age.

Historical Standard Deduction Values

Here is a table showing the standard deduction for Single and Married Filing Jointly filers in previous years and the percent change year over year:

YearStd. Deduction Single ($)Std. Deduction Married ($)Avg. Percent Change (%)

The percent change is calculated based on the previous year’s standard deduction.

When Will The Standard Deduction Amount Be Released For Next Year?

The standard deduction amounts are typically announced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the fall of the preceding year, around October or November. This is because the IRS needs to adjust the amounts for inflation and any legislative changes that may have occurred.

For 2024, the standard deduction was released on November 10, 2023. The IRS publishes these updates in a revenue procedure that is posted on the IRS website and is always well-covered by news outlets.

If you need the exact date when the standard deduction will be released or want to keep track of tax updates, you will have to check the IRS website or subscribe to IRS updates. The IRS does not tell you ahead of time.

What If The Standard Deduction Is More Than Income?

If the standard deduction is more than your income, it means that your taxable income would be reduced to zero, and you would not owe any federal income tax. However, here are a few points to note in such a situation:

1. Non-Refundable Credits: While the standard deduction can reduce your taxable income to zero, it cannot generate a tax refund on its own because it is not a tax credit.

2. Refundable Tax Credits: If you are eligible for refundable tax credits (like the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit), you could still receive a refund, even if you have no tax liability.

3. Filing a Tax Return: You should still file a tax return if you have had any taxes withheld from your paycheck or if you are eligible for any refundable tax credits. Filing a return is the only way to get a refund of any withholdings or to claim refundable credits.

4. Filing Requirements: If your income is below the standard deduction, you may not be required to file a tax return at all. However, there might be other reasons to file, such as to reclaim any withheld income tax or to establish records with the IRS.

5. Additional Income: Some types of income, such as Social Security benefits, may not be fully taxable or taxable at all, depending on various factors. The standard deduction doesn’t affect the taxability of such income.

Should I Itemize Or Take The Standard Deduction?

The choice between itemizing deductions and taking the standard deduction depends on your individual tax situation. Here are some points to consider when making this decision:

1. Compare the amounts: Calculate your itemizable deductions and compare the total to the standard deduction for your filing status. If your itemizable deductions are greater than the standard deduction, it usually makes sense to itemize.

2. Consider your filing status: Some filing statuses have higher standard deductions, which might make the standard deduction more beneficial unless you have substantial itemizable deductions.

3. Think about time and recordkeeping: Itemizing requires keeping records and receipts throughout the year, and it may involve more complex tax preparation. The standard deduction requires less time and recordkeeping.

4. Assess tax benefit changes: Certain itemized deductions may be limited at higher income levels, or there may be changes in tax law that affect the benefits of itemizing versus taking the standard deduction.

5. Evaluate personal or financial changes: Life events such as marriage, divorce, or buying a home can change your tax situation significantly, influencing whether you should itemize deductions.

6. Consider state taxes: Your choice to itemize on your federal return might affect your state tax return as well, depending on your state’s tax laws.

7. Frequency of itemizing: If you have years with high medical expenses or large charitable contributions, it might be beneficial to itemize those years.

8. Plan for future tax years: Sometimes, it makes sense to time expenses that can be itemized so that they provide the most tax benefit. This strategy, known as bunching deductions, can sometimes make it more beneficial to itemize in certain years.

Given these considerations, if the sum of your itemizable deductions (such as mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable contributions, medical expenses exceeding a certain threshold, and other deductions) is less than the standard deduction, the standard deduction will typically be the better option.

Consulting a tax professional can provide personalized advice tailored to your financial situation, and using tax software can also help you to easily compare both options.

Deduction Examples – Standard & Itemized

Example 1 – Taking the Standard Deduction

For example, using numbers of someone who should take the standard deduction. 

Let’s consider another taxpayer for the 2024 tax year who is also filing as single, thus qualifying for a standard deduction of $14,600.

Here are this taxpayer’s potential itemizable deductions:

Mortgage Interest: They paid $3,200 in mortgage interest for the year.

State and Local Taxes (SALT): They paid $2,200 in state income taxes and $1,700 in property taxes, totaling $4,125. (Well below the SALT deduction cap of $10,000.)

Charitable Contributions: They donated $1,200 to qualified charities.

Medical Expenses: They had medical expenses totaling $4,500. If this taxpayer’s AGI is $50,000, 7.5% of that is $4,125. The medical expenses do not exceed 7.5% of their AGI, so they wouldn’t be able to deduct any of these expenses.

Adding up these potential itemizable deductions gives us:

  • Mortgage Interest: $3,900
  • SALT Deductions: $3,900
  • Charitable Contributions: $1,200

Total itemizable deductions: $8,300

Since the total itemizable deductions of $8,300 are significantly less than the standard deduction of $14,600, this taxpayer should opt for the standard deduction, as it will reduce their taxable income by a greater amount.

Example 2 – Taking an Itemized Deduction

For example, using numbers of someone who should take the itemized deduction. 

Let’s consider an example of a taxpayer who is deciding whether to itemize deductions or take the standard deduction for the 2024 tax year. Assume this taxpayer is single, making the standard deduction $14,600.

Now let’s list out potential itemizable deductions:

Mortgage Interest: They paid $6,800 in mortgage interest for the year.

State and Local Taxes (SALT): They paid $3,200 in state income taxes and $4,200 in property taxes. 

Charitable Contributions: They donated $2,700 to qualified charities.

Medical Expenses: They had significant medical expenses totaling $10,500. The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct the portion of medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). If this taxpayer’s AGI is $52,000, 7.5% of that is $3,900. They can, therefore, deduct the amount of medical expenses that exceed this threshold, which would be $6,600 ($10,500 – $3,900).

Now, let’s add up these itemizable deductions:

  • Mortgage Interest: $6,800
  • SALT Deductions: $7,200
  • Charitable Contributions: $2,700
  • Medical Expenses: $6,600

Total itemizable deductions: $23,300

In this case, because the total itemizable deductions of $23,300 exceed the standard deduction of $14,600, it would be more beneficial for the taxpayer to itemize their deductions on their tax return.


The standard deduction serves as a fundamental aspect of the U.S. tax system, offering a simplified way for taxpayers to reduce their taxable income. 

For the year 2024, the standard deduction amounts are $14,600 for single filers and $29,200 for married couples filing jointly. These values are adjusted annually to reflect inflation and policy changes. 

Taxpayers over 65 or those who are blind are eligible for additional deductions. 

The choice between itemizing deductions and opting for the standard deduction depends on individual financial circumstances and the sum of potential itemizable deductions.

The historical data from 2000 to 2024 reveals a steady increase in standard deduction amounts, reflecting policy shifts and inflationary adjustments, highlighting the dynamic nature of tax regulations and the importance of staying informed about these changes.