/ Ask Terry Questions / Why is the Sr. Deduction on federal income taxes only allowed if you take the standard deduction and not if you itemize?

Why is the Sr. Deduction on federal income taxes only allowed if you take the standard deduction and not if you itemize?

By Terry Savage on December 23, 2019 | Economy & Taxes

With contributions and income/ property tax, our deductions equalled the standard deduction. To deduct more with the additional Sr. Deduction we took the standard deduction. That doesn’t help charities and other non profits if the standard deduction is more than itemizing; tends to make people donate less to save money. Even if they donate nothing they still get the standard deduction. Also is there any hope of getting this changed so the Sr. Deduction would also be for those who itemize? Somehow this seems to me that this is discrimination against Srs. who choose to support non-profits. There is as far as I can tell, no such discrimination for child credits -an income adjustment but no exclusion unless maybe one’s income is very high. Thanks for listening.

Terry Says

The tax law changes made in December 2017 had some interesting consequences. I have written several times about charities’ fear that people taking the higher standard deduction won’t give as much — because they don’t benefit from a deduction if they aren’t itemizing.
Give anyway! You’re in the rare space where your contributions are more than covered by the standard deduction.
And, yes, there is a higher standard deduction for seniors who don’t itemize. Here’s the rule for 2019:

If you are age 65 or older, you may increase your standard deduction by $1,650 if you file Single or Head of Household. If you are Married Filing Jointly and you OR your spouse is 65 or older, you may increase your standard deduction by $1,300. If BOTH you and your spouse are 65 or older, you may increase your standard deduction by $2,600.

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