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Should I Itemize My Deductions?


Many people mistakenly believe that tax deductions directly reduce the amount of taxes that they owe. The reality, however, is that tax deductions lower the amount of a taxpayer’s taxable income, which in turn, lowers his or her tax liability. There are a couple of different ways to track deductions when filing a federal tax return, one of which is known as itemization. Failing to comply with certain requirements when utilizing either method can result in refund delays and other problems, so if you recently received notice of a problem with your tax return or you have a deduction-related question, you should reach out to an experienced Florida tax return preparation lawyer for help.

Itemizing Deductions

The first way to claim deductions is known as itemization, which involves accounting for certain payments when filing one’s tax return, including:

  • State and local income or sales taxes;
  • Real estate taxes;
  • Personal property taxes;
  • Mortgage interest;
  • Disaster losses;
  • Gifts to charity; and
  • Some medical and dental costs.

Itemization is a good option for certain taxpayers, including those who:

  • Cannot use the standard deduction;
  • Can only claim a limited amount;
  • Have large uninsured medical and dental expenses;
  • Own a home on which they paid mortgage interest or real property taxes;
  • Have large uninsured theft or casualty losses; or
  • Made significant contributions to charitable organizations.

There are certain limits when itemizing deductions, so if you have questions about this process, it is important to speak with an experienced tax return preparation attorney as soon as possible.

Standard Deductions

The other way to claim deductions on one’s tax return is to use the standard deduction, which, like itemizing deductions, will reduce the amount of a person’s taxable income. It’s important to note, however, that not all standard deduction amounts are the same, but vary depending on the taxpayer’s age, income, filing status, and the year in question. Certain taxpayers are not permitted to use the standard deduction, including:

  • Married individuals who file separately and whose spouses itemize their deductions;
  • Those who file tax returns for periods of time of less than a year because of a change in annual accounting;
  • Individuals with nonresident alien status or dual-status aliens, unless married to a U.S. citizen; and
  • Estates, trusts, common trust funds, and partnerships.

Taxpayers whose allowable itemized deductions are greater than their standard deduction amount should opt instead for itemization.

Dedicated Nationwide and Florida Tax Return Preparation Lawyer

If you need help determining whether it is in your best interests to itemize deductions or to claim a standardized deduction, you could benefit from the help of an experienced tax return preparation lawyer. This is also true for taxpayers who recently received notice of a problem with their tax returns, including issues with their deductions. For help with these, or related issues, please call experienced tax return preparation attorney Ronald Cutler, P.A. today. You can set up a free, one-on-one consultation with a member of our legal team by calling our office at 386-490-9949 or by completing one of our online intake forms.