If you changed your name as a result of a recent marriage or divorce, you will want to take the necessary steps to ensure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). 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 some situations for which notifying the Social Security Administration may be appropriate:

  • 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 names with their Social Security numbers (SSNs).
  • If you were recently divorced and changed your name back to your previous last name, you will also need to notify the SSA of this name change.

Informing the SSA of a name change is easy; 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.

If you adopted your spouse’s children after getting married, the children will need to 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.

If you have questions, please give this office a call.

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