Qualifying as Blind
- In order to qualify as blind, your vision cannot be better than 20/200 or your field of vision not better than 20 degrees as of the last day of the tax year. If you are partially blind, then your optometrist must supply the IRS with a letter stating what your vision is. If corrective lenses or eyewear enables you to see better than these limits, unless they are so painful you can only wear them for a few hours at a time, then you do not qualify. Legally blind persons do not have to submit a letter to the IRS and automatically qualify for the extra tax deduction.
- The standard deduction is the amount that you are guaranteed to take by the IRS just for filing your tax return. It varies by filing status and changes each year in accordance with the cost of living increase. For 2011, the standard deductions are $5,800 for those filing as single or married filing separately, $11,600 for those filing as married filing jointly or qualifying widower, and $8,500 for those filing as head of household. If you itemize your taxes, then you cannot take the standard deduction.
- If you qualify as blind or are over the age of 65, you qualify for an additional standard deduction. If you are both, then you qualify for two. The extra standard deductions in 2011 are $1,450 for those filing as single, married filing separately or head of household; $1,150 for those filing as married filing jointly or qualifying widower. Therefore, if you are 67 years old, file as single and are legally blind, you qualify for a total standard deduction of $8,700. If your tax liability at the end of the year is $6,000 then taking this standard deduction reduces it to $0. This means you will not owe the IRS any money, but you will also not get a refund of the remaining $2,700.
Personal and Dependency Exemptions
- Even if you are legally blind, your personal and dependency exemptions do not change. However, if you reside with someone else that is fiscally responsible for you, then she may qualify to claim you as a dependent. If your income for the year does not exceed $3,650, then she can claim you as a dependent and reduction in taxes will likely benefit her more.