What to do When an Employee has a Name Change

When an employee changes their name, there are several administrative tasks you need to complete as an employer. And if you're an ASAP payroll client, be sure to notify us of the change to ensure that their Social Security number and name matches for IRS compliance.

Before updating the name in your payroll system, verify the change by requiring the employee to provide a copy of an updated Social Security card with the new name. This step is important to avoid Social Security mismatches by ensuring the name in your system matches the one on the employee's current Social Security card. If an employee has not updated their Social Security card, keep the former name in your payroll system until the name is updated with the Social Security Administration.

Other Documents to Update with an Employee Name Change

W-4: Employees need to complete a new W-4. The IRS requires that the name on the Social Security card matches the name on W-4 and W-2 forms.

I-9: Even though U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not require the I-9 to be updated with a name change, USCIS does recomĀ­mend that employers maintain correct information on Forms I-9 and note any name changes in Section 3 of the form.

Benefits: Benefit plans will need to be updated with the new name. You may want the employee to complete new beneficiary forms so that the new name is listed on the form. If the name change is due to a family status change (e.g., marriage or divorce), the employee may also wish to make a midyear change to the benefits plan to add or drop dependents consistent with this family status change.

Records: Update personnel records, phone lists, e-mail systems, and other employee lists and systems that include employee names. Where applicable, cross-reference the previous name and new name so that a search using either will retrieve the same records.

Professional License: In general, employees have 30 days to notify a professional license board of their name change. Obtain a new copy of updated license for their file. 

Employee Name Change Checklist:

  1.  Obtain copy of updated Social Security card
  2.  Update payroll system or notify your payroll provider
  3.  Have employee complete a new W-4
  4.  Update benefits
  5.  Update employee records