How to Change Your Name When Filing Your Taxes

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If you’ve changed your name recently because of a marriage, divorce, or any other reason you should register the change with the Social Security Administration before you file taxes.

The names that don’t match a social security number will slow down a processing of your tax return by the IRS and may delay issuance of your refund. Even before that, you are most likely to receive a letter from the IRS indicating there is a problem and requesting explanation, which will further postpone the filing process. The same applies for any dependent on your return whose name has changed.

How to update your records
To update your records use form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. Make sure you have a proof of your legal name change, such as a marriage certificate or any other official document issued to support your claim.

In case of adoption, if a child does not have social security number, you may use a temporary number called Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN). You obtain it by filing Form W7-A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. This number is good for 2 years and may be extended if the adoption process is taking longer. If you adopted a child and have enough time to file for a social security number, there is no need to file Form W7-A. Check with your local social security office on the number assignment time frame.

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