If you are undecided about filing jointly or separately--you need to have a better understanding of those choices.
If you were legally married at the end of 2019 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.
Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will get the married filing jointly standard deduction of $24,400 (+$1300 for each spouse 65 or older) You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit.
If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. Your limit for SALT (state and local taxes and sales tax) will be only $5000 per spouse. In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states: AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI)
If you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.
If you decide to file separate returns that is TWO returns and you pay twice.
To begin a new joint return on TurboTax:
You will not be able to merge two previous TT account to start your new joint return. You can transfer ONE of your 2018 returns into a new return, so choose the most complicated one. The other spouse’s information needs to be entered manually.
When you enter your own information in My Info, you have to answer the question "Were you married?" If you click the button for Married, then a drop down will appear that asks, "Do you want to file this return together with your spouse?" Then you choose yes to file a joint return. You would then enter your spouse's information into Personal Info. Whenever you are entering income information there should then be a spot for you and for your spouse's income information.
It is not easy to compare MFJ to MFS using online TT but you can do it. Since you only get one return for each account and user ID, you have to use 3 accounts and user ID’s—one for MFJ and two for each of the MFS returns. Compare, choose, and file—and pay—accordingly.
It is much easier to do this comparison using the desktop version of TT installed from a CD or downloaded to your own computer. You pay once for the software and you can prepare multiple returns easily, and it has a “what if” feature that allows comparisons.
Oh--and all versions of the software include e-file. There is no extra fee to e-file. The fee is the same whether you e-file or mail it in an envelope. The fee is for using the software.