IRS TAX TIP 2012-23: The IRS released 5 tips for newly divorced or married taxpayers which are reproduced below:

If you changed your name after a recent marriage or divorce, the IRS reminds you to take the necessary steps to ensure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration. A mismatch between the name shown on your tax return and the SSA records can cause problems in the processing of your return and may even delay your refund.

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 you hyphenated your 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 recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name, you’ll also need to notify the SSA of this name chang.

3. Informing the SSA of a name change is easy. Simply file a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, at your local SSA office or by mail and provide a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change.

4. Form SS-5 is available on SSA’s website at, 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 and their names changed, you’ll need to update their names with SSA too. 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 website or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Form W-7A  Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions (ATIN)


Always file Form 8822, Change of Address, with IRS after marriage or divorce (or separation).  Informing IRS of your new address will protect you against being deemed to have received a notice mailed to the address “last known” to IRS.  Fillng out a postal change of address form also notifies IRS of the change but I recommend also filing Form 8822.  You may lose valuable appeal rights if IRS is not properly notified of your new address. 

Divorcing couples should have their lawyers include in any marital settlement agreement a clause requiring each spouse to immeditately notify the other spouse of IRS notices received at the former marital residence and to forward a copy of the notice to the other spouse.

Addtional material copyright 2012 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

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