we have no way of knowing since we have no factual information. such as each of your incomes, deductions number of dependents or other info that could affect your taxes. a joint return is usually the cheapest but there could be reasons - tax and non-tax - why you want to file separately. the only way to decide on what you want to do is see the results by preparing 3 returns - married filing separately for each of you and a joint return.
note that the online account can only accommodate one return. doing a second will permanently delete the first and the third will permanently delete the second. desktop can accommodate multiple returns as long as each is saved with a different name.
Of course, if you have been separated since 2020 or 2021 (you even said 2017 in one post), you can't file a joint (MFJ) tax return unless your spouse agrees to work with you to fill in both your incomes and data, and spouse agrees with you to file that way.
@office-sterlingd since you posted multiple times and in some cases suggested you are still married but separated, you really have little choice in the matter.
IF you are married, you always have the option of filing Joint or Separate. However., filimg Joint requires both spouses to file and SIGN the tax return. If both parties are unwilling to do so, the only option (assuming no children) is Filing Separate.
it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that filing Separate will yield a better outcome than the two of you filing Joint. In fact, I have never seen a financial outcome be better by filing Separate. Congress passes tax laws that protect the sanctity of marriage, meaning they don't incent behaviors that cause people to file Separate. 96% of married couples file Joint.
Best to use this calculator to determine what makes better sense, but again, if you are married, with no children and you can not convince your spouse to sign the tax return, you have no choice, other than to file Separate.
"Legally separated" means legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.
If you are legally separated, your filing status with no dependents is Single.
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