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IRS Tips for Changing Your Name

August 18th

For many individuals, changing your name after a marriage or divorce can be an ongoing hassle. To ensure that all the appropriate documentation has the correct name in time to file tax returns, a great deal of work must be done. Failure to provide current personal information can inadvertently lead to However, in an effort to make the process seem a little simpler, the IRS has published the following guidelines for those changing their name because of marriage or divorce. These tips are here to help you know what you need to do to ensure that all the correct documentation is in order in time for tax season.

1.      Notify the SSA. If you have taken your spouse’s last name, or if both spouses will be hyphenating their last names, you may run into difficulties. These difficulties tend to arise when tax returns are filed because the IRS computers are unable to match their new last names to their Social Security Numbers. Notifying the SSA of any name changes can help avoid these issues. Also be sure to notify the SSA of a return to an old last name following a divorce.

2.      File a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. This form is the simplest means of informing the SSA of any name changes. Form SS-5 is available on SSA’s website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov or at local offices. After filling in the form, file at your local SSA office. You will need to provide a recently issued document as proof of the legal name change.

3.      Ensure that any newly adopted children also have an accurate Social Security Number. If you adopted your partner’s children after getting married, you will want to follow the same protocol to ensure that the children’s information is up to date. This includes informing SSA of any name changes as well as ensuring that each child has a Social Security Number. This is especially important as taxpayers must provide a Social Security Number for each dependent on their tax return form.


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