Three decades ago when I got married, I decided not to change my name.
My father-in-law was initially upset that I didn't take the hubby's last name. Then he came to appreciate the surname differences, as it gives him plausible deniabilty when questions of my connection to his family arise. (Kidding aside, we've always gotten along.)
My mother warned me it would cause confusion and problems, for me and others. She was correct, but there haven't been any major issues.
And I like that I have an automatic indicator that a phone call is from a telemarketer when the person asks for Mrs. Kay Hubby'sName.
Aside from not hassling with changing legal documents and financial accounts, keeping my birth name also meant I didn't have any tax filing issues. My Social Security number has been associated with me, same name and all, for my whole life.
But for others who do change their names, from women who marry and men who want new monikers, doing some official administrative follow-up is critical, especially when it comes to taxes.
Notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of your name by filing a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.
To finalize the change, you must show the SSA a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Acceptable documents include a:
- Marriage document,
- Divorce decree,
- Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name, or
- Court order for a name change.
If the document you provide for a legal name change does not give enough information to identify you or if you legally changed your name more than two years ago, then you also must show an identity document in your old name, that is, your prior name as shown in SSA records.
Make sure you get the name change completed before your file your taxes. If not, then your refund could be delayed or even disallowed.
In fact, notes Dennis Lish, CPA, CFE and @dlcpacfe on Twitter, with e-file pre checking, returns with mismatched tad ID niubmers and names might get rejected altogether.
And if that happens, regardless of what you want to be called, your name will likely be mud!
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