We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are Federal Income Deductions?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Federal income deductions refer to those reductions that may be taken when filling out a tax return that effectively reduces the amount of taxable income, and therefore the amount of year-end taxes that must be paid. Federal income deductions are often broken into two categories: "above the line" deductions that can be taken whether or not an individual is able to itemize, and then additional deductions such as medical expenses that can be taken if the tax return can be itemized. It sounds complicated, and sometimes it is, but there is plenty of advice to be found online, on independent and government websites, or through an accountant who can provide advice regarding deductions. The rules for deductions will vary from country to country, and the explanations provided here are general and may not apply to every location or situation.

It is important for an individual to be sure to take all the federal income deductions that he or she qualifies for; otherwise, she will be paying more taxes than necessary. Figuring out the "above the line" federal income deductions, which may be taken by everyone regardless of itemization, is the best place to begin. The most basic of these are contributions to a retirement fund, and interest paid on student loans. Capital losses also go here, as well as contributions to health savings accounts, certain business, or moving expenses, and a portion of self-employment taxes paid, in some cases. Not every person will qualify for every one of these deductions, but it is always a good idea to check.

Other federal income deductions will typically require certain income and expense qualifications to be met. Put simply, a person or family filing an income tax return will be able to take the standard deduction to, an amount pre-determined by the government to reduce taxable income, unless their qualified expenses add up to more than the standard deduction. In this case, the person or family is then able to itemize deductions in qualified categories.

Certain federal income deductions can be itemized, and typically include interest paid on mortgage or home equity loans, as well as losses due to theft. Charitable contributions also fall into this category, as well as medical expenses paid -- for instance, payments made before an insurance deductible was reached, or payments required for services not covered by insurance. Certain types of taxes, such as state, local, or real estate taxes may also be able to be itemized and deducted. It is important to remember that it is only a good idea to itemize deductions if they add up to more than the standard deduction. Otherwise, taxable income will be higher than it needs to be.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.