Q. How can I convince my 25-year-old daughter that it’s better to itemize than take the standard deduction? S.J.D., Cheyenne, Mont.
A. It’s not a question of what’s “better” if you don’t qualify. In lieu of taking the standard deduction ($6,100 on 2013 returns), your daughter can itemize deductions only if her total deductions exceed the standard amount. This includes deductions for charitable gifts, mortgage interest, state income taxes, etc. After adding up the deductions on Schedule A, she will find out if she’s allowed to itemize and claim the higher amount. Otherwise, your daughter is stuck with the standard deduction, at least for this year.
Tip: The standard deduction increases to $6,200 in 2014.