Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC

Five Tax Filing Tips for Recently Married or Divorced Taxpayers

5 November 2010

If you were married or divorced recently, there are a couple of things you’ll want to do to ensure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Listed below are five tips for recently married or divorced taxpayers. Following these steps should help avoid problems when you file your tax return.

  1. If you took your spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names, you may run into complications if you do not notify the SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers cannot match the new name with their Social Security Number.
  2. If you were recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name, you also will need to notify the SSA of this name change.
  3. Informing the SSA of a name change is fairly easy; you just need to file at your local SSA office a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card (for applicants in the U.S.), Form SS-5-SP, Application for a Social Security Card (for Spanish speaking applicants who have difficulty translating the SS-5), or Form SS-5-FS, Application for a Social Security Card (for applicants applying outside the United States).
  4. The various Forms SS-5 also are available on the SSA’s Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling 800-772-1213, or at local offices. It usually takes about two weeks to have the change verified.
  5. If you adopted your spouse’s children after getting married, you will want to make sure the children have an SSN. Taxpayers must provide an SSN for each dependent claimed on a tax return. For adopted children without SSNs, the parents can apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number – or ATIN – by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions with the IRS. The ATIN is a temporary number used in place of an SSN on the tax return. The W-7A also is available on the IRS’s Web site at www.IRS.gov, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

For additional information about your tax filing requirements, consult your professional tax preparer or tax advisor.