Getting married or undergoing a divorce will involve not only an emotional upheaval, but also a lot of paperwork on the financial end.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will need accurate information about your new filing status as soon as possible so that they can match the name on your return to your Social Security Administration records.
If you fail to make the necessary name changes after getting married or going through the divorce process, your tax refund might be delayed or your entire return might be processed incorrectly and may need to be modified.
According to the IRS, here are five things to be aware of when you have changed your name after getting married or going through a divorce:
Problems with hyphenated last names or changed last names
If you hyphenated your last names, you might run into some problems with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If you took your spouse’s name (or vice versa), the IRS might not be able to match your name to your Social Security number. Make sure both the SSA and IRS are notified about these name changes as soon as possible.
Recently divorced name changes
When you revert back to your maiden name after divorce, you’ll need to contact your Social Security Administration office right away.
Filing Form SS-5
Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, is a fairly easy form to fill out. This form will inform the Social Security Administration that you are authorizing a name change.
Just mail it to your SSA office and show proof of a legal name change with a recently issued document listing your current name so they can process your request.
Downloading Form SS-5
You can download Form SS-5 here or call 1-800-772-1213 to request a form to be mailed to you. You can also contact your local SSA office to request a form.
When you receive your new card, you’ll find that the numbers are the same but you have a new name.
Updating names for adopted children
If you adopted your spouse’s children after getting married, you’ll need to inform the Social Security Administration. Adopted children without SSNs need to have their parents apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN).
This number is a temporary number used instead of an SSN for tax purposes. You will need to download Form W-7A through the IRS website here or call 1-800-TAX-FORM to request one by mail.