Are you changing your name due to marriage or divorce during tax season?

A name change can have an impact on your tax return if not timed correctly. The first step to changing your legal name is to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA). Although the IRS and the SSA are separate from one another, the IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to confirm the information on your tax return matches your record with the SSA. If your name on your SSA record doesn’t match the name on your tax return, it could cause a delay in receiving your refund. For this reason, it’s important to properly time filing your taxes when changing your name.

It might seem complicated to change your name during tax season, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re married but haven’t started your name change.
You need to decide if you have enough time to update your name with the SSA before filing your tax return. You can contact your local SSA office by visiting ssa.gov/locator (select ‘Locate on Office By Zip’) and enter in your zip code.

You can also learn more about updating your name with the Social Security Administration here.

Once you receive confirmation of your name change from the SSA, use your new name on your tax return. If you don’t have enough time to change your name with the SSA before filing your return, use your current legal name as shown on your Social Security card on your tax return.

If you’ve already updated your name with the Social Security Administration.
Use the name on your new Social Security card on your tax return. If you’ve submitted your Social Security application (Form SS-5) but have not received your new card yet, contact your SSA office to confirm if your name change has been processed.

If you’ve filed your tax return with the IRS and are expecting a tax refund.
Wait until you receive your tax refund check/deposit from the IRS before starting your name change. A name mismatch may cause a delayed tax refund.

If you’ve filed your tax return with the IRS and are not expecting a tax refund.
You can start your name change at any time since you’ve already filed your taxes for the prior year.

Frequently Asked Questions
I just changed my name on my Social Security card. What name should I use on my tax return?
Use the name on your new Social Security card when filing your tax return. The name on your tax return must match the name on file with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Will changing my name now impact me when I file taxes in a couple of months?
It depends on when you plan on filing your tax return. You may or may not have enough time to update your name with the SSA before the tax filing deadline. We suggest calling your local SSA office to see how long it is taking to process name changes and issue new Social Security cards.

What should I do after updating my name with the SSA to ensure my taxes and W2 are all aligned for this tax year?
After you update your name on your Social Security card, notify your HR department of your name change so your employer can update your payroll and benefits information to your new name.

Don’t know where to start with changing your name change?
NewlyNamed provides personalized name change kits to take time and hassle out of your name change after marriage or divorce. Check out our name change kits if you’d like to make your name change easy.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!

Source: IRS
Image source: Marija Savic