U.S. tax laws are filled with a total of $1.1 trillion in deductions, credits and exemptions, an average of about $8,000 per taxpayer, according an analysis of tax data from 2009. Last year's federal deficit was $1.3 trillion.
Among the biggest tax breaks:
_34.6 million taxpayers reduced their federal income taxes by a total of nearly $77 billion by deducting the interest they paid on their home mortgages.
_36 million families saved more than $54 billion from the $1,000 per-child tax credit.
_40.7 million taxpayers cut their federal income taxes by $40 billion by deducting state and local income, sales and personal property taxes.
_33.5 million households cut their taxes by $21 billion by deducting state and local real estate taxes.
_36 million families cut their taxes by nearly $35 billion by deducting charitable donations.
_28 million taxpayers saved a total of $24 billion because their income from Social Security and railroad pensions was untaxed.
_25.7 million low-income families collected a total of $55 billion from the earned income tax credit.
Source: Joint Committee on Taxation.