Some 70% of taxpayers took the standard deduction in recent years, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, and the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) now makes that option even more attractive for most taxpayers, experts say.
The standard deduction is basically double what it was last year: It increased from $6,350 to $12,000 for most single filers, and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. At the same time, certain itemized deductions, like the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local taxes deduction (SALT), were capped or eliminated altogether.
Additionally, the TCJA eliminated personal and dependent exemptions — $4,050 for yourself, your spouse and each of your dependents — and increased the child tax credit.
To figure out whether or not you should still itemize, you have to do your homework, Jackie Perlman, principal tax research analyst at The Tax Institute at H&R Block, tells CNBC Make It.
"At least for this first year, you want to add it all up and see where you stand, and you might be surprised," says Perlman. "There's no short cut. You've got to have good records and you have to do the math."