Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tax Tips for the Newlyweds

It's that time of year again.  But for some of you newly married ladies, or men who have changed their name (I have had a few!) there is just one more thing you have to think about this year when filing your taxes.  You need to make sure that the name on your tax return matches the name you have registered with the Social Security Administration.  A mismatch between the two can cause problems in processing and even a delay in receiving that credit we all so desperately await. 

Here are five tips from the IRS for recently married or divorced taxpayers who have a name change.
  1. If you took your spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names, you may run into complications if you don’t notify the SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match the new name with their Social Security Number.

  2. If you were recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name, you’ll also need to notify the SSA of this name change.

  3. Informing the SSA of a name change is easy; you’ll just need to file a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card at your local SSA office and provide a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change.

  4. Form SS-5 is available on SSA’s website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or at local offices. Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.

  5. If you adopted your spouse’s children after getting married, you’ll 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. Form W-7A is available on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).