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Standard Deduction for 2013: Why It's Often Your Best Deal

Itemizing deductions can be a real pain. As you consider your options this year, looking at the standard deduction for 2013 can save you a lot of time and actually produce bigger tax savings. But how can you figure out if the standard deduction is right for you?

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, goes through the standard deduction for 2013, noting that single filers get $6,100 this year, married joint filers get $12,200, and those who file as head of household get $8,950. Dan also points out that those who are 65 or older or are blind get additional standard deductions of $1,500 for single filers or $1,200 for married filers in 2013. In deciding whether to take the standard deduction, many families find that their itemized deductions are actually less than the standard deduction amount, making the standard deduction a no-brainer. Yet even those whose itemized deductions exceed their standard deduction for 2013 by a small amount can sometimes choose the standard deduction to avoid recordkeeping and other issues. As long as you don't cheat yourself out of a huge tax benefit, taking the standard deduction makes taxes a whole lot simpler than itemizing.

Why you need big deductions
The standard deduction is just one way you can fight tax increases that took effect at the beginning of 2013 and affected nearly every American taxpayer. With the right planning, you can take further steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "How You Can Fight Back Against Higher Taxes," The Motley Fool's tax experts run through what to watch out for in doing your tax planning this year. With its concrete advice on how to cut taxes for decades to come, you won't want to miss out. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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