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The IRS recently released a list of 5 tax tips for taxpayers who have recently married or divorced, and are planning on filing their taxes with a different last name than in years past. If you fall into this category, it is important to ensure that 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 even delay your refund. Please take the following into account:
1. 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 SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match the new name with their Social Security number.
2. If you recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name, you’ll also need to notify the SSA of this name change.
3. 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.
4. Form SS-5 is available on SSA’s website at http://www.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.
5. 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 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 IRS.gov website or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
If time is of the essence, and you can not afford to delay potential refunds, you can always file your return with the existing name the SSA has on record. Then after you return is acknowledged by the IRS, you can begin the process of changing your name (and/or the names of your children) so that you will be set for next tax season. If you would like any assistance, please contact an R&G Brenner professional today.