What You Should Know if You Had a Name Change!

Name-StickerDid you change your name last year?  If you did, it can affect your taxes.  All the names on your tax return must match Social Security Administration records.  A name mismatch can delay your refund.  Here’s what you should know if you changed your name:

Did you get married and are now using your new spouse’s last name or hyphenated your last name?  Did you divorce and go back to using your former last name?  In either case, you should notify the Social Security Administration of your name change.  It is the SSA that determines your legal name – not what is on your driver’s license.  It is imperative that your new name on your IRS records matches up with your SSA records.

To get an updated Social Security card, you will need to file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, to notify SSA of your name change.  You can get the form on SSA.gov or call 800-772-1213 to order it.  Take the filled out form along with your driver’s license or passport and a certified copy of your marriage license or divorce decree to your local Social Security office.  You don’t need an appointment.  Your new card will show your new name with the same SSN you had before.

*You will have to wait at least 24 hours after getting your name change at Social Security before you can go to the DMV to update your name on your driver’s license.  But it will be important that you follow up with your license update as soon as possible since once you change your name at the SSA, it is legal and official, meaning that your driver’s license and other ID will not be legal forms of ID until you get them updated.

If your dependent had a name change, you will also need to notify the Social Security Administration.  For example, this could apply if you adopted a child and the child’s last name changed.

If you adopted a child who does not have a SSN, you may use an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number on your tax return.  An ATIN is a temporary number.  You can apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS.  You can visit IRS.gov to view, download, print or order the form at any time.

Also, if you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace you may get advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2015.  If you do, be sure to report changes in circumstances, such as a name change, a new address and a change in your income or family size to your Marketplace throughout the year. Reporting changes will help make sure that you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance and will help you avoid getting too much or too little in advance.

(excerpted/adapted from IRS Tax Tip 2015-22, https://www.irs.gov)

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