Taxpayers Should Report Name Changes Before Filing Taxes


When a client changes their name, that change can affect their taxes. All the names on a taxpayer’s tax return must match Social Security Administration (SSA) records. A name mismatch can delay a tax refund. According to the Internal Revenue Service, here’s what a taxpayer should do if anyone listed on their tax return changed their name:


  • Reporting Taxpayer’s Name Change. Taxpayers who should notify the SSA of a name change include:
    • Taxpayers who got married and use their spouse’s last name.
    • Recently married taxpayers who now use a hyphenated name.
    • Divorced taxpayers who now use their former last name.


  • Reporting Dependent’s Name Change. Taxpayers should notify the SSA if a dependent’s name changed.  This includes an adopted child who now has a new last name. If the child doesn’t have a Social Security number, the taxpayer may use a temporary Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) on the tax return. Taxpayers can apply for an ATIN by filing a Form W-7A.


  • Getting a New Social Security Card. Taxpayers who have a name change should get a new card that reflects the name change. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. Taxpayers can get the form on or by calling 800-772-1213.


Usually when any of the above circumstances are manifest, there are other legal moves one should make. For instance, estate plan documents should be changed if one has a name change or adopts a child. Sometimes asset titling would also need to be changed. We can help with ensuring all aspects of your legal life are consistent, so feel free to call our office to help.