We own our home, but is it advantageous for us to use the standard deduction instead of itemizing? Someone told me we can take a deduction for our real property taxes even though we do not itemize deductions. Is this true?
Yes. Congress recently extended the standard deduction for real property taxes for non-itemizers through the 2009 tax year. On page 2 of the 2008 Form 1040, take this deduction on Line 39c. Your standard deduction is increased by state and local real estate taxes you paid, up to $500 ($1,000 if married filing jointly). The real estate taxes must be those that would have been deductible on Schedule A if you had itemized deductions.
Dan Busby is a certified public accountant, acting president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and the author of the Zondervan Clergy Tax & Financial Guide.