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Category: Tax Tips

What do I need to know if I am recently married, divorced, or have adopted?

If you were married or divorced recently, there are a couple of things you will want to do to ensure that the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration.

If a taxpayer takes their spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names, they may run into complications if they do not notify the SSA. If the newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers would not be able to match the new name with their Social Security Number and reject the return.


After a divorce, taxpayers who change back to their previous last name also need to notify the SSA of the change.


Informing the SSA of a name change is quite simple. File a Form SS-5 at your local SSA office. The form is available on SSA’s Web site at, by calling 800-772-1213 or at local offices. It usually takes about two weeks to have the change verified.


Taxpayers who adopt will want to make sure their adopted children have an SSN. Taxpayers must provide SSNs 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 is available on the IRS Web site at, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).



Social Security Administration

Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card (PDF)