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What's in a name? A lot when filing taxes
Mar 13, 2013 6:46 pm
It's a problem a lot of women face in the course of their lives – if and when to change their surname name when they wed or divorce.
While in many situations it doesn't really matter. But when filing a tax return the Internal Revenue Service has proven to be sticklers for making sure all the I's are dotted and all the T's are crossed.
William Norton Sr. with Cars Unlimited helps people with their simple tax returns. He said the name problem is common.
"I run into that all the time," he said. "If you don't get it straightened out, it will hold up your return. It's better to do it two or three months before tax season."
If you changed your name after a recent marriage or divorce, the IRS reminds you 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 delay your refund.
To cut down on any confusion, the IRS issued five tips for recently married or divorced taxpayers with a name change:
• If you took your spouse’s last name – or if you hyphenated your last names – you may run into complications if you don’t notify the Social Security Administration. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match the new name with the Social Security number.
• If you 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. 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 on SSA’s website at 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 and their names changed, you'll need to update their names with SSA too. For adopted children without Social Security numbers, the parents can apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number 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 irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM.