A Name Change Can Have an Impact on Your Taxes
If you changed your name 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 return and may even delay your refund.
Here are five tips from the IRS for recently married or divorced taxpayers who have 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.
- Informing the SSA of a name change is easy; you’ll just need to file a 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 http://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 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 http://www.irs.gov, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
How to Change Your Name With Social Security
If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you must tell Social Security so you can get a corrected card. You cannot apply for a card online. There is no charge for a Social Security card. This service is free. The same applies once you receive the I-766 card, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and bring required evidence. See Defining the legal Name for an SSN.
To get a corrected Social Security card, you will need to:
- Show the required documents. You will need proof of your identity. Sometimes you also may need to prove your current U.S. citizenship or lawful noncitizen status. See Learn What Documents You Need for more information. Under the heading, “Type of Card,” select “Corrected” for a list of the documents you need;
- Fill out and print an Application for a Social Security Card; and
- Take or mail your application and documents to your local Social Security office.
Do you Have a Federal Tax Issue You Need Help With?
The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic can consult with you to provide advice regarding your IRS tax issues, and/or potentially act on your behalf for FREE if you qualify for assistance (come to a clinic intake session)!
Jim Floyd is the Staff Enrolled Agent at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. As an Enrolled Agent, Jim is a federally-licensed tax practitioner with unlimited rights to represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service. This means he is unrestricted as to which taxpayers he can represent, what types of tax matters he can handle, and which IRS offices he can represent clients before. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards.
Sources: Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration