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.