Over the past year, I, along with a number of other Schneider Downs employees, took the big plunge. That is, we got married! After a hectic year of planning, there may be one more important “to do” on the marriage check list – a legal name change.
Legally changing your name after marriage is completely optional, but if you do plan to legally change or hyphenate your last name, you need to first take these steps. To legally change your name with the Social Security Administration, you must file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card with your local Social Security Administration office, along with supporting documentation.
In this case, supporting documentation is an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate. The Social Security Administration will not accept a photocopy. Additionally, you must also provide proof of identity, such as a driver’s license, state-issued identification card, or United State passport.
After submitting an application and providing the required supporting documentation, the Social Security Administration will process the change in the system and relay the information to the Internal Revenue Service. It is imperative to complete these steps before filing your 2016 tax return because your tax return is filed under your Social Security Number (SSN). Newlyweds should wait to file their tax return until after their new social security card is issued. A delay in refund and/or other complications may arise if the name on the tax return does not match the SSN on file with the Social Security Administration.
Following the proper steps to legally change your name will not only safeguard your 2016 tax compliance, but also help ensure marital bliss in your first year of marriage.