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Avoid tax refund delay - update records with SSA

Published: March 2, 2011 12:13 PM
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Recent name change? New adoptive parent? If "yes" to either, then take note before you file your 2010 federal tax return " a mismatch between the name on your tax return and Social Security Administration records can cause return processing problems and may even delay your refund. Read on for what you can do to ensure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the SSA.

Informing the SSA of a name change is easy; just file a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, at your local SSA office and provide a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change.

Form SS-5 is available at www.ssa.gov, 800-772-1213 and local SSA offices. Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.

If you've recently adopted a child, you'll want to ensure the child has an SSN, since an SSN must be provided for each dependent claimed on a tax return. Parents of adopted children without SSNs can use Adoption Taxpayer Identification Numbers " or ATINs " in place of the children's SSNs on the tax return. Apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS. Form W-7A is available at www.irs.gov and 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

A few simple steps are all it takes to avoid a name mismatch between your tax return and SSA records. If you've recently changed your name or adopted a child, please take the time to bring SSA records up-to-date before filing your 2010 federal income tax returns " due April 18, 2011.

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