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Highlights

When computing their federal taxes, taxpayers either claim a standard or itemized deduction. In recent years, about 70 percent of taxpayers have claimed the standard deduction. GAO found that on 948,000 tax returns for tax year 1998, taxpayers did not itemize their deductions yet had payments for mortgage interest and points and for state and local income tax that exceeded the standard deductions for their filing status. GAO estimated that these taxpayers are likely to have overpaid their taxes by about $473 million. When charitable contributions, real estate and personal property tax payments are included, the total overpayment could reach $945 million.

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