5 Tips If You Changed Your Name This Year

If you changed your name this year as a result of a recent marriage or divorce, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to ensure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration. A mismatch between the name shown on your tax return and the SSA records can cause problems in the processing of your tax return and may even delay your refund.

Here are 5 tips for recently married or divorced taxpayers who have made a name change.

  • If you took your spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names, you may run into complications if you don’t notify the SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match the new name with their Social Security Number. 
  • If you were recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name, you’ll also need to notify the SSA of this name change. 
  • It’s easy to inform the SSA of a name change. You just need to file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, at your local SSA office and provide a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. 
  • Form SS-5 is available on SSA’s website at www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling 800-772-1213, or at local offices. Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but it will show your new name. 
  • If you adopted your spouse’s children after getting married, you’ll want to make sure the children have an SSN. Taxpayers must provide an SSN for each dependent claimed on a tax return. For adopted children without SSNs, the parents can apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number, or ATIN, by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions with the IRS. The ATIN is a temporary number used in place of an SSN on the tax return. Form W-7A is available on the IRS website at www.irs.gov, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
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