If you’re considering a name change due to marriage, divorce, or a court order, especially during tax season, it’s crucial to understand how this change affects your tax filings to avoid delays in processing your tax return or receiving your refund. Here’s a streamlined guide to managing your name change smoothly with respect to your taxes.

Changing Your Name During Tax Season

Step 1: Notify the Social Security Administration (SSA)

The IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to verify that the information on your tax return matches your SSA records. Therefore, the first and most important step in changing your name for tax purposes is to inform the SSA. This is done by completing the Application for a Social Security Card (SSA Form SS-5) and submitting the required documentation to prove your legal name change. Read more about how to change your name with social security after marriage.

Step 2: Update Your Name with the IRS

Once the SSA updates your records, the IRS should automatically receive this updated information when you file your next tax return under your new name. There isn’t a specific IRS form dedicated to reporting a name change. Instead, the update is conducted through the SSA.

Additional Tips

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 entering in your zip code.

Once you receive confirmation of your name change from the SSA, you’ll need to 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.

For Married Couples Filing Jointly

If both partners have changed their names, make sure both individuals have reported their name changes to the SSA before filing a joint tax return.

Consult a Tax Professional

It can be beneficial to speak with a tax professional or accountant to ensure your name change is reflected accurately in your tax filings and to navigate any potential issues.

For more detailed instructions on how to notify the IRS and actions to take if there’s a discrepancy after filing your taxes, visit the official IRS website at irs.gov and search for “name change” to find guidance tailored to your situation.

By following these steps and considering these tips, you can ensure that your name change does not disrupt your tax filing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I wait to change my name until after I have filed my taxes?

If you’ve already received your W-2 from your employer and/or if the tax deadline is approaching, the safest route for you would be to file your taxes in your current legal name and then change your name with the SSA afterward. If the name on your SSA record doesn’t match the name on your tax return, you may experience a delay in getting your refund.

I just changed the 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 employer or HR department of your name change so your employer can update your payroll and benefits information to your new name.

I updated my name with Social Security but my Form W-2 or Form 1099 shows my maiden name. What should I do?

You will need to contact your employer or HR department and ask for an updated W-2 or Form 1099 showing your new name. Your employer will issue you a Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, or a corrected 1099 Form.

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: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (1) (2)
Image source: Marija Savic