Tips for Recently Married or Divorced Taxpayers

December 27th, 2008

Newlyweds and the recently divorced taxpayers should ensure the name on their tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch could unexpectedly delay a tax refund.

• For recently married taxpayers, the tax scenario begins when the bride says “I do.” If she takes her husband’s last name, but doesn’t tell the SSA about the name change, a complication may result. If the couple files a joint tax return with her new name, the IRS computers will not be able to match the new name with the Social Security Number (SSN). If a new spouse has not made the change with the SSA administration, she should use her old name on the tax return.

• After a divorce, a woman who had taken her husband’s name and made that change known to the SSA should contact the SSA if she reassumes a previous name.

The key to avoiding filing problems is to match the tax return name with what the SSA has on record for that SSN.

It’s easy to inform the SSA of a name change by filing Form SS-5 at a local SSA office. It usually takes two weeks to have the change verified. The form is available on the agency’s web site at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 800-772-1213 and at local offices. The SSA web site provides the addresses of local offices.

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