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The standard deduction is a specific dollar amount that reduces your taxable income. In 2020 the standard deduction is $12,400 for single filers and married filing separately, $24,800 for married filing jointly and $18,650 for head of household.
In 2021 the standard deduction is $12,550 for singles filers and married filing separately, $25,100 for joint filers and $18,800 for head of household.
Even if you have no other qualifying deductions or tax credits, the IRS lets you take the standard deduction on a no-questions-asked basis. The standard deduction reduces the amount of income you have to pay taxes on.
Two more notes: