Client Question: How do I change my name with the IRS?

If you have recently changed your name, such as after a marriage or divorce, you will need 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.

If you took your spouse’s last name, or if you hyphenated your last names, you may run into complications if you do not notify the SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, the IRS computers cannot match the new name with their Social Security number.

 If you recently divorced and changed 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 can be easy. Simply file a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, at your local SSA office or by mail and provide a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Form SS-5 is available online, or by calling 800-772-1213 or at local SSA 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 and their names have changed, you will need to update their names with the SSA too.  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 website or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

If you have any additional questions, please contact a ShindelRock professional who will be glad to help you thru this process.