Itemizing Pays If You Qualify


Federal and state income taxes are due Wednesday. Michelle Bachtel from H&R Block in Knox says taxpayers can either take the standard deduction or itemize, depending on which will be most advantageous for their personal situation.

For individuals who are filing single or married filing separate, the standard deduction is $6,200. For a married filing joint couple or a qualifying widower with a dependent child, that amount is doubled to $12,400. And for a person filing head of household the amount is $9,100.

Bachtel encourages taxpayers to study their options carefully.

“To figure out whether itemizing would be profitable for you, you first need to determine whether the allowable expenses you pay during the year – things like your home mortgage interest, property taxes, state income or sales taxes, medical expenses, donations, etc. – exceed the standard deduction for your filing status. Once you’ve done that, you should take the higher of the two.”

If you do itemize, you will need to show proof of all of the deductions you take. Bachtel says most of the forms you need are provided annually. These include a 10-98 form from your mortgage company, property tax statements, explanations of benefits and receipts detailing medical expenses and proof of charitable contributions. If you don’t receive such forms, Bachtel says you can still itemize if you keep track of expenses by saving things like receipts, canceled checks, credit card and bank account statements and other proof that you actually paid the expenses. Find more information online at