What Deductions Does a Single Person Get for Their Income Taxes?

by Steve Lander
Single people get many deductions -- and avoid the marriage penalty.

It might seem like married people with kids get all of the tax benefits. Between child tax credits, lower rates for married people that file jointly and the ability to write off typical family expenses like mortgage interest, you might think there's nothing for you. However, every taxpayer gets thousands of dollars' worth of tax deductions. All that you have to do is claim them.

Standard Deduction

If you like to keep your taxes simple, you can claim the standard deduction. For the 2014 tax year, for which you'll file a return in 2015, it lets a single person subtract $6,200 right off the top of his income. This means that if you make $24,000 per year, the standard deduction reduces your taxable income to $17,800. The standard deduction for the 2013 tax year -- whose return gets filed on April 15, 2014 -- is $6,100. You might be limited as to how much you can claim against money you make from investments if your parents can claim you as a dependent on their taxes, though.

Itemized Deductions

Just because you're single doesn't mean that you can't give money to charity, own a house or have other tax-deductible expenses. The Internal Revenue Service gives you a choice between claiming the standard deduction and itemizing. If your itemized deductions add up to more than your standard deduction, you can itemize instead. Itemized deductions include the mortgage interest you pay, state income taxes, property taxes, money you give to charity, money that you spend for your job and don't get back, and other expenses.

Personal Exemptions

The IRS also lets you take a write-off just for being you, as long as you're not being claimed as a dependent on anyone else's taxes. The personal exemption is worth $3,950 in the 2014 tax year and $3,900 in the 2013 tax year. This means that if you have $24,000 in income and claim a $6,200 standard deduction, you get to write off another $3,900 or $3,950, dropping your total taxable income to $13,850 or $13,900, depending which year you're filing in. If you have children or dependents of your own, you can claim this same amount for each of them, too.

Adjustments and Credits

Even if you don't itemize your deductions, you still get access to a range of adjustments and credits. If you have kids, you may be able to get a child tax credit or tax help paying for child care. Money that you put into an individual retirement account is tax-deductible, as is the cost of any student loan interest you pay. You can deduct the cost of moving for a job, and either claim a deduction or a credit for any college tuition and fees that you pay yourself.

Workplace Tax Savings

Although they aren't technically tax deductions, you can also take advantage of programs at work to help you save on taxes. Flexible spending accounts and health saving accounts help you use pre-tax dollars to pay for healthcare expenses, while 401(k) accounts let you save for your future with pre-tax money. You might even be able to get your boss to pay tuition for you for a college or graduate degree, tax-free.

About the Author

Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.

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