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I read on IRS website "Your standard deduction is zero and you should itemize any deductions you have if: Your filing status is married filing separately, and your spouse itemizes deductions on his or her return" http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch20.html

I am making my final 'expatriation' US tax return and have to file 'married filing separately' on 1040NR which does not allow me to take the standard deduction it only allows me to itemize deductions.

If I fill in 1040NR page 3 (Schedule A - Itemized Deductions) with all zeros and then put zero on 1040NR line 38 (Itemized deductions) does the zero value on line 38 constitute me ‘NOT itemizing’ and therefore allow my US citizen husband to take the standard deduction on his 'married filing separately' 1040?

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No, it doesn't. You are itemizing, your spouse has to itemize too. The tax benefit of the itemizing (or lack thereof) is of no consequence.

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    I'm pretty sure they can't require you to itemize and the form is simply in error. – Joshua Jan 7 '16 at 20:52

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