I recently had a client ask me a few questions regarding her recent marriage. She had gotten married during the second half of the year and her new, married name was on the official marriage certificate. However, she did not have the time to change her name elsewhere (Social Security Office, bank accounts, credit cards, etc.). She was worried that her tardiness regarding her name change would affect her return.
The easiest thing to do when getting married is to send in your certified marriage certificate to the Social Security Office along with Form SS-5 (application for a Social Security Card). Once you submit these documents, it should take a few weeks to receive your name-changed Social Security Card in the mail. You can now file with the name stated on the marriage certificate.
However, if you did not have time to do this, as was the case with my client, there is nothing to worry about. You are still able to file “married filing jointly” on the return, you will simply use your name before the marriage. When in doubt, file a return with the name shown on your Social Security card. If the name on your return does not match your Social Security card, it will be flagged and you will be required to adjust your return.