The 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act brought about many changes. One prevalent change that will affect a large number of individual tax payers is the increased standard deduction. The standard deduction increased from $6,3750 for single filers ($12,700 for married couples filing jointly) in 2017 to $12,000 in 2018 ($24,000 for married filing jointly). First, this increase partially compensates for the elimination of the exemptions in 2018. In 2017, the exemption amount was $4,050 and was granted for the taxpayer, spouse and any dependents. Second, the increased standard deduction was created in an attempt to simplify some individuals tax payer's tax returns. According to taxfoundation.org this increased standard deduction is expected to be taken by nearly 90% of taxpayers in 2018. If you've taken the standard deduction in past tax years, you'll continue to do so with this increased standard deduction. If you've previously itemized on schedule A, but your itemized deductions were less than the new standard deduction amount,you won't need to itemize any longer. However, if your past itemized deductions were more than the new standard deduction, the determination of who you will handle this deduction in 2018 isn't so cut and dry. Because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act altered so many of the items in schedule A, many taxpayers who itemize will loose many of their deductions that they were previously allowed to take. if you fall in this group, you should take a closer look at how these changes will affect you in 2018. There are some free tools out their to help you trudge through this. You may also consider consulting with a tax professional to help you with this analysis.