The IRS wants to know your name

Most of us would be happy if the IRS never knew who we are or where we live. But sometimes it’s a good idea to keep the government informed.

If you or one of your dependents had a name change last year, you should notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) before you file your federal income tax return. Otherwise, the name on your tax return will not match SSA records, which will likely result in a letter from the IRS inquiring about the mismatch.

If you overpaid your taxes, your refund could be delayed until the discrepancy is resolved.

Be sure to contact SSA if:

  • You got married or divorced and changed your name.
  • A dependent you claim had a name change.
  • You adopted a child and that child’s last name changed.

Your return must list the Social Security number of every dependent. If you have not obtained a Social Security number for a newborn child, you should process the necessary paperwork before you file your 2013 return.

You can effect a name change by filing Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, with the SSA. It is also a good idea to let the IRS know about a change in address by filing Form 8822, Change of Address.

For individual, gift, estate or generation-skipping transfer tax returns, file Form 8822 or Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party – Business, for your business. Note that Form 8822-B should be filed no later than 60 days after a change or by March 1 if the change occurred in 2013 and was not previously reported to the IRS.