1.Figure your itemized deductions. Add up deductible expenses you paid during the year. These may include expenses such as:
- Home mortgage interest
- State and local income taxes or sales taxes (but not both)
- Real estate and personal property taxes
- Gifts to charities
- Casualty or theft losses
- Unreimbursed medical expenses
- Unreimbursed employee business expenses
2.Special rules and limits apply. Visit IRS.gov and refer to Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for more details.
3.Know your standard deduction. If you don’t itemize, your basic standard deduction for 2013 depends on your filing status:
- Single $6,100
- Married Filing Jointly $12,200
- Head of Household $8,950
- Married Filing Separately $6,100
- Qualifying Widow(er) $12,200
4.File the right forms. To itemize your deductions, use Form 1040 and Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You can take the standard deduction on Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.
5.File Electronically. You may be eligible for free, brand-name software to prepare and e-file your tax return if your adjusted gross income is less than 58,000. IRS Free File will do the work for you. Free File software will help you determine if you should itemize and file the right tax forms. It will do the math and e-file your return – all for free. Otherwise, you may file electronically with commercial software such as TurboTax or H&R Block, or through a paid preparer.