The Internal Revenue Service gives taxpayers a choice of either itemizing deductions or taking the standard deduction. People who are at least age 65 as of the end of the year get a boost in their standard deductions. The deduction size depends on filing status and can change each year. The standard deduction is used when someone doesn't have a lot of deductible expenditures such as mortgage interest and unreimbursed medical or business expenses.
By the Numbers
As of 2013, the standard deduction increased from $6,100 to $7,600 when a taxpayer reached age 65 and filed as a single. A married person filing a joint return saw the deduction go from $12,200 to $13,400. If you filed separately, it jumped from $6,100 to $7,300 or $8,500. If your spouse was also 65, the standard deduction became $14,600. Qualifying widowers and widows with dependants could claim $13,400. If you could claim head of household, the standard deduction went from $8,950 to $10,450.