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Tax Impact of Name Change - Whom to Contact and What Forms to Complete

Tax Impact of Name Change - Whom to Contact and What Forms to Complete
Ines Zemelman, EA
20-Feb-17

While marriage is the most common reason for changing your name, it is not the only reason.

Whatever the impetus, you must now make sure that you are all set from a legal and taxation standpoint.

The primary identifier for the IRS is your social security number - and your tax return must match your Social Security records. Failure to take appropriate steps can delay your tax refund or other logistical annoyances you can avoid.

Notify Social security

- Fill out and print an Application for a Social Security Card

- Review https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5doc.htm for what documents you may need

Until you change your name with SSA, you must continue to file tax returns under your prior name.  This holds true even if you were married, are now divorced, and want to change your name back. 

Name Change For Dependent

If your children or other dependents change their name (through marriage or other reason), you must also notify SSA.  Failure to do this may lead to your return being rejected due to mismatch of records, delay of possible refund (if one was possible), or hit with a tax penalty if you are now owe tax. In all cases - legalize and calls with the IRS that you can avoid.

Name Change From Adoption

If you adopt and the child does not have a Social Security number, please obtain an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) and report this on your tax return. 

- Apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS. Visit IRS.gov to get the form or contact your tax preparer for assistance.

- Getting a New SS Card. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is on SSA.gov or by calling 800-772-1213. The taxpayer’s new card will reflect the name change.

Ines Zemelman, EA
Ines Zemelman, EA
founder of Taxes for Expats