If you married or divorced last year and changed your name, you need to be sure that the IRS has a record of your new name. Even though you have the same social security number, the IRS also checks the name on your return. For this purpose, the IRS relies on records on file with the U.S. Social Security Administration. The IRS matches your name with your social security number. If the name as shown on your return does not match the Social Security Administration’s records, there could be problems in processing your return and your refund, if applicable, could be delayed.
You should complete Form SS-5 -Application for a Social Security Card. This same form is used to apply for an original Social Security card, a replacement card, or to change information on your Social Security number record. You can present this form at your local Social Security Administration office or you can mail it. You can use the Social Security Office Locator to find a Social Security office near you.
You will need to provide supporting documentation with Form SS-5. According to the Social Security Administration, for a name change the documents you provide need to prove your identity, support the change and establish the reason for the change. The document must identify you by both your old and new names. And the document must be recent. If the change occurred over two years ago, or if the document does not identify you under both your old and new names, you would need to provide documents to prove your identity under both names. If you were born outside the United States, you need to prove your U.S. citizenship, permanent residency, or legal, authorized status to work in the U.S.
Documents must be originals or copies certified by the issuing agency, not photocopies or notarized copies. The documents you present or mail with Form SS-5 will be returned to you.
If you adopt your spouse’s children, you should make sure the children have social security numbers, and if they change their names, you should also apply for a new social security card for them. If the children you adopt do not have social security numbers you can file Form W-7A – Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions with the IRS. This adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) can be used if you are not able to obtain a social security number in time to file your tax return. According to the IRS, it usually takes 4 to 8 weeks to get an ATIN so you need to plan ahead.
Form SS-5 – Application for a Social Security Card
Form W-7A – Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions
Social Security Office Locator – Social Security Administration