Recently Married, Divorced or Adopted? Remember to Notify Social Security

Joe Popp | July 9th, 2010

Since we’ve just completed the month known for weddings in June, it’s a good time to make sure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration. Here’s what to do.

 If you took your spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names, it can create complications if you don’t notify the Social Security Administration. When the newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match their new names with their Social Security Numbers. The same notification also applies if you recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name.

To notify SSA of a name change, file a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security card at your local SSA office. The form is also available on SSA’s Web site at or by calling 800-772-1213. It usually takes about two weeks to have the change verified.

If you adopt your spouse’s children after getting married, be sure the children have a Social Security number. If they don’t, parents can apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (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 a Social Security number on a tax return. Taxpayers must provide a Social Security number for each dependent claimed on a tax return. The W-7A is available on or by calling 800-829-3676 (800-TAX-FORM).

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2 Responses to “Recently Married, Divorced or Adopted? Remember to Notify Social Security”

  1. I am a U.S. citizen living in Panama, Central America. I wish to marry a lady with one underaged child. She and the child are from Columbia, South America.
    I am retired and live on my Social Security income. What requirements or advice can you provide for me to understand my responsibilities to my government?

  2. Maggie says:

    Thanks for your question, John. We’re working on an answer and should have one for you soon. Please check back!

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