What are itemized deductions?

I do not understand what it means to have an itemized deduction?
  • my husband has the house and all itemized in his name only
  • If you file a joint return it doesn't matter whose name it's in.  Joint is usually  the best way to file if you are married.
  • what is an itemized deduction?
  • where the hell is the answer to this simple question??
  • Directly below where it says, "1 Answer".  Just scroll down to find it in the Answer Box.
  • Itemized deductions - Expenses that can be deducted from your AGI to help you reach a smaller income amount upon which you must calculate your tax bill. Itemized deductions include medical expenses over a certain amount, other taxes (state, local, property and sales tax), mortgage interest, charitable contributions, casualty and theft losses, unreimbursed employee expenses and miscellaneous deductions such as impairment-related work expenses and gambling losses. Some itemized deductions must meet IRS limits before they can be claimed. When you itemize, you must file Form 1040 and detail your deductions on Schedule A.
  • Itemized deductions - Expenses that can be deducted from your AGI to help you reach a smaller income amount upon which you must calculate your tax bill. Itemized deductions include medical expenses over a certain amount, other taxes (state, local, property and sales tax), mortgage interest, charitable contributions, casualty and theft losses, unreimbursed employee expenses and miscellaneous deductions such as impairment-related work expenses and gambling losses. Some itemized deductions must meet IRS limits before they can be claimed. When you itemize, you must file Form 1040 and detail your deductions on Schedule A.
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Some examples of itemized deductions are mortgage interest paid during the year, property taxes on your home, employment expenses, medical expenses, charitable donations, and some other miscellaneous expenses.  Some of these do not require the amounts to be a specific percentage of your AGI (adjusted gross income) before you can deduct totals above that amount (medical expenses, for instance, must be at least 7.5% of your AGI before you can deduct those) and others are not limited by percent of your AGI (mortgage interest, property taxes, charitable donations).

If you have itemized deductions that are more than the total for the allowed standard deduction amount set for the tax year, then you can reduce your total tax liability even more by opting to use the itemized deduction total on your tax return instead of the standard deduction amount.

TurboTax will ask you during the process of preparing your return if you have any expenses in these areas for which you want to enter information. This information goes into the program and the program calculates your total of the itemized deductions from what you entered.  The federal tax summary pages will show you the comparisons and give you a recommendation of the one that is greater.  You can then choose to use the other amount if you have a tax reason to use the lower deduction amount instead of the higher one (some will do this because it benefits them on their state tax returns in a greater amount than the federal tax difference would be with a larger federal tax deduction).  Note:  the advantage of choosing the smaller deduction amount is not that frequent; most will go with the recommended larger amount.
  • yes
  • MY WIFE HAS A CLEANING BUSINESS WHERE SHE WRITES OFF EXPENSES SUCH AS SUPPLIES,MILEAGE ETC... AND SHE CLAIMS HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD FOR HER PLACE,DO I STILL NEED TO DO THE ITEMIZED ALTHOUGH I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN CLAIMING MY SON  WHO IS 8.
  • bowlingracing, business expenses are business expenses on a schedule C; those are not itemized deductions for the schedule A form.  Although some expenses are separated by percentages due to a home office (percent for home office square footage, percent for regular itemized deduction totals), just because a person has business deductions on schedule C does not mean they will also be filing a schedule A itemized deductions.  If their regular itemized deductions are not greater than the standard deduction, then most will use the standard.

    You said "wife", which indicates you are still married.  If you are living in the same home (not separated completely in different residences during the last 6 months of the tax year, and yes, the IRS will check back), then neither of you are able to use a "head of household" status on a return.  Married persons who are legally married and do not meet the "considered unmarried" status are not head of household.  Also, you must have a qualifying dependent on your return to use head of household status, even if you are "considered unmarried".  Other than meeting the IRS definition for head of household, the only two possible filing status available for married persons is married filing jointly or married filing separately.

    Having a business owned by only one spouse does not mean that you must file separate personal tax returns; you can still file a joint status return, and joint status is usually the best status for married couples to obtain the lowest tax liability.  Married filing separate status, other than some circumstances, typically leads to a higher overall tax liability than the married filing joint return.  This is because the IRS has very specific rules that will eliminate or reduce many tax deductions and credits when filing married filing separate status returns.  One of those rules also includes rules about itemizing because when one spouse itemizes the schedule A deductions on their married filing separate status return, the other spouse must itemize as well, even if their deduction is reduced to zero.

    Please look to the IRS Publication 501 for further definition for each filing status:

    http://www.irs.gov/publications/p501/ar02.html#en_US_2012_publink1000220721
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My husband and I are separated he lives in the house we own together in Indiana that is paid off and pays the taxes and insurance.  I have an apartment in South Carolina that I pay for do I need to do itemized deductions even though I am not claiming payment of taxes on the house?
  • Yes if you are filing as Married Filing Separately and he itemizes deductions then you must itemize also.  Even if it is less than the Standard Deduction, even if yours is zero.  Any way you could both agree to file Joint?   Joint is almost always better.
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