The filing status claimed on the federal return must also be the same as claimed on the North Carolina income tax return. If the taxpayer has not filed a federal income tax return, the taxpayer must claim the filing status to which the taxpayer would be entitled under section 2 of the Internal Revenue Code. However, for a married couple, if either the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse is a nonresident and had no North Carolina taxable income for the taxable year, the filing status married filing separately may be claimed. Once a joint return is filed, separate returns may not be filed for the year after the due date of the return.
You can file your NC return as MFJ or MFS, but IF you choose to file MFS, be aware of this requirement:
If you choose to file a separate North Carolina return, you must complete either a federal return as married filing separately reporting only your income and deductions or a schedule showing the computation of your separate income and deductions and attach it to your North Carolina return.