The 2013 standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly is $12,200 and $6,100 for a single taxpayer. It doesn’t require any proof of actual expense and has no requirement for home ownership.
Items that can be included on Schedule A for itemized deductions include:
- Certain taxes paid for state and local income tax, general sales tax, real estate property taxes, personal property taxes or other taxes paid
- Qualified home mortgage interest, investment interest or possibly, mortgage insurance premiums
- Charitable contributions
- Casualty or theft losses
- Medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income if born before 1/2/49 or 10% if born after 1/2/49
- Job expenses and other miscellaneous deductions that exceed 2% of adjusted gross income
While the standard deduction might be the obvious choice for a non-homeowner, the combination of the mortgage interest and the property taxes plus other allowable deductions not recognized previously such as charitable contributions, now makes taking the itemized deductions significantly more advantageous.
Of course, this is only general information and should not be considered advice. The best way to make any tax decisions is to talk with your tax professional. If you would like a recommendation for a CPA, please let me know. I would be happy to refer you.