What’s in a Name?
How a name change can impact your taxes
When the time comes to prepare your annual tax return, you’ll likely come ready to prove your annual wages, marital status, retirement income and a variety of other information. But all the effort you put into preparing your financial information could be undermined by the fact that you forgot to report your name change to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Because the IRS will compare the information entered on your tax return to the information the SSA has on file for you, this step is absolutely necessary. Don’t risk holding up the tax filing process. If you’ve changed your name in the last year or are planning to change your name in the year ahead, remember to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s” to avoid headaches down the road. Here are a few tips to help you along.
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Plan A Visit To Your Local SSA Office
When changing your name, the first step you should take is to inform the SSA. Fortunately, this can easily be done by mail or by visiting your local SSA office. You’ll want to get this step done as soon as possible as it can take some time to process your request and update your file. Click here to find the SSA office closest to you.
Prepare Yourself With Essential Documents
For the SSA to process your account and update your records in a timely manner, remember to bring documentation that proves your identity, supports the requested change and establishes the reason for the change. An original or a copy of one of the following documents is absolutely necessary:
- Marriage License
- Divorce ruling
- Certificate displaying your new name
- Court document for your name change
You will also need two forms of identification, such as a birth certificate, U.S. hospital record of birth, a passport, final adoption decree or a religious record established before age five that identifies your age or date of birth. Additionally, to prove your identity, you must be able to provide a U.S. driver’s license, U.S. state-issued non-driver identity card or a U.S. passport.
Remember Your Dependents
Claiming your children on your tax return can result in valuable tax savings. But if your children’s names have changed, you must report the changes with the SSA before filing your taxes in order to claim the benefits.
New Name, New Card
Finally, you will need to obtain a new Social Security card, one that reflects your name change. To get yours visit the SSA website to fill out Form SS-5 or call (800) 772-1213. You can also find additional instructions on the form.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the name changing process and how it affects your taxes, a member of the Rea team can help! Email Rea & Associates to learn more.
By Lesley Mast, CPA, MAcc-Taxation (Wooster office)