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If you got married in January 2011, you might wonder what name to use on your taxes for 2010. Getting married is exciting and you’re probably anxious to start using your new name. This article discusses what name to use on your taxes when your wedding date and your tax return due date are close to e
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Legal Name Change
Before you can use your married name on your taxes, you must go through the legal name change process. Usually this involves first acquiring a new driver’s license or state identification card, and next; a new Social Security card.
This process is a little different than the one to replace a lost Social Security card. You must take a certified copy of your marriage license to your local Department of Motor Vehicle and Social Security offices when you request the legal change. If you got married in January 2011, the time frame in which you complete your legal name change will determine what name to use on your taxes.
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New Social Security Card
Once you receive your new Social Security card reflecting your married name, you’ll know your information has been processed in the Social Security system. You’ll keep your original Social Security Number, but your new name will be assigned to your file and associated with the Social Security Number you’ve always had. The Social Security Administration will notify the IRS of the name change associated with your Social Security Number.
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The IRS processes tax returns using a system that matches your name to the Social Security Number on file. Generally, it’s a good idea to wait at least several weeks after receiving your new Social Security card to file your tax return if you want to use your new name. This allows time for the Social Security Administration to update the IRS with your name change. If you’re due a refund and need to file your tax return as soon as possible, you can use your maiden name at any time before or immediately following your name change. Remember – the IRS matches the name you use on your tax return to the name associated with your Social Security Number.
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Mismatches and Errors
If you submit a tax return to the IRS and the name on your return does not match the name the IRS has on file for your Social Security Number, your return will generate a mismatch error within the IRS system. These errors delay processing and your return may be rejected altogether. If your return is rejected, you must file again using your other name. For example, if you file your original return under your married name and you receive a rejection on your return for a mismatch error, try filing under your maiden name. Similarly, if you file your original return under your maiden name and receive a mismatch error, you can re-file your return under your married name. In addition, if you’re due a refund and have processing delays due to a mismatch, you may experience significant delays getting your money. When you got married in January 2011 what name to use on taxes for 2010 can be unclear: you can also call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to verify the name that is on file for your Social Security Number.
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Social Security Administration: U.S. Citizen – Adult Change Name on Social Security Card - http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10513.html
IRS: Five Tips if You Changed Your Name Due to Marriage or Divorce - http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=105969,00.html
IRS: Telephone Assistance - http://www.irs.gov/help/article/0,,id=96730,00.html
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