A tax break for blind Americans was first passed into law in the Revenue Act of 1943, according to a 2005 Slate article. It soon became a standard deduction and can be taken every year if you don't itemize your deductions. The idea of the deduction was to help compensate blind people for their added costs of living since they're almost always dependent on others to get around.
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Filing Requirements for Single Dependants
Blind people that are classified as single dependants for tax purposes must file a tax return if they meet any of four criteria. The first is if unearned income was more than $2,350 ($3,750 if 65 or older). The second option is that earned income was more than $7,100 ($8,500 if 65 or older). The third is that gross income was more than $2,350 ($3,750 if 65 or older). The final possibility is if gross income was more than earned income plus $1,700 ($3,100 if 65 or older).
Filing Requirements for Married Dependants
Blind people that file their tax returns as married dependents must file a tax return if they meet any of five qualifications. The first is if their unearned income is more than $2,050 ($3,150 if 65 or older). Another possibility is if earned income is more than $6,800 ($7,900 if 65 or older). The third criteria is if gross income is at least $5 and a spouse files separately and chooses to itemize deductions. The fourth is if gross income is more than $2,050 ($3,150 if 65 or older). The last qualification is gross income tops earned income plus $1,400 ($2,500 if 65 or older).
Qualifying as Blind
Qualifying for the higher blind standard deduction requires you to be blind on the last day of the year and you don't itemize deductions. You may also qualify if you're partially blind, but you will have file a certified statement from either a registered optometrist or an eye doctor that you meet one of two requirements: Your best eye can't see better than 20/200 even with glasses or contacts or your field of vision is 20 degrees or less. Also be sure to have your doctor include in his memo if this condition will never improve (this will ensure you can always get the blind deduction without having to get this certified memo every year).
Taking the Deduction
You take the blind deduction in line 39a of your 1040 form. The worksheet in the 1040 instructions will show you how to calculate your standard deduction. Blind people receive an additional standard deduction of at least $1,100.