Under the Housing Law signed on June 30th, if you decide not to itemize you can increase your standard deduction by the amount of real property tax you could have claimed if you did itemize, up to $500 ($1,000 on a joint return). This originally only applied to 2008 tax returns, but the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (i.e., the bailout bill) has extended this benefit into 2009.