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The problem with that is that if she has no income, as stated,
1. She has no mess to clean up,
2. She has no requirement to file a return on a separate basis, nor can she be compelled to sign a joint return. A joint return is an election made by both spouses. And it's an irrevocable election, which is why you can amend returns to file jointly, but not amend to file separately if you'v already filed a joint return.

So the OP has relatively little leverage without being a hard@$$.

Yup, sort of where I'm at. I'll ask her nicely if she'll sign a joint return. That gives her the opportunity first to do the right thing instead of me just making a unilateral decision. I expect she won't answer at all.

A clarification about your statement - I thought the filing status was irrevocable, but if I read your statement, it sounds like I can file separately and change it to joint later. I just can't file joint now and change it to separately later. Is that right?

If so, then that opens a solution. I'll file separately now, then immediately prepare an amendment to file jointly. If she signs that, great, and if she doesn't, I just throw it away, but at least my taxes are filed on time.
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