As you can imagine, there are a few administrative considerations to keep in mind when an employee undergoes a legal name change.

You’ll need the employee to provide:

  1. A copy of their updated Social Security card with their new name, since the IRS requires the Social Security card to match the payroll records.
  2. An updated W-4, since the IRS requires that the name on the Social Security card match the one on the W-4 and W-2 forms.

An employer is not required to update an employee’s I-9 after a legal name change, and an employee is not required to provide documentation to show that they have changed their name for the purpose of the I-9. (Federal contractors may have different rules.) However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends maintaining correct information on I-9s. In order to update the employee’s original I-9, enter their new legal name in Box A of Section 3, and then sign, date and print your name on the final line. As a reminder, the current version of the I-9, which technically expired on 3/31/16, is still valid until an updated version is published by USCIS.

Lastly, you’ll want to make changes to the employee’s various benefits paperwork and offer the employee an opportunity to make changes to their beneficiary forms as needed. You may request an updated version of their Driver’s License if driving is a job duty, and you’ll likely want to update company phone lists, email accounts, business cards, etc.