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MFS, itemize or standard deduction?


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Taxpayer broke up with his wife in 2015 and has not been able to know where she is since then. He has not filed for divorce, though. He also has not filed tax returns since then and now he wants to file the back tax returns.
My questions are
1. Since he knows nothing about whether and how his wife filed her own returns, must he assume the worst scenario, i.e., the wife itemized?
Or he can claim the more beneficial deduction whether it is standard or itemize? 
2. is there anything else needs special attention on?
Thank you!

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I think the best is to itemize all years and that's the most conservative, legal and ethically. 

Depending on the documents and circumstances described by the client, I would itemize the first 3 years and use the standard deduction for the next three years.  I would put an end to 2015, 2016 and 2017.  For the other years, I would use the standard deduction because chances are that the ex also used the standard deduction because of the $12K+ deduction.

I hope he has her social security number and remembers her name. I would recommend a divorce as soon as possible so you don't have to deal with this situation next year.  Good luck.

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